The University Of Tulsa To Offer Cybersecurity Program

This announcement could not be more timely with all the cyber attacks seen on cities and businesses lately.

The University of Tulsa is adding a new School of Cyber Studies.

Thanks to the new program, students can now get a bachelor’s degree in Cyber Security and a doctorate in Cyber Studies.

TU professor Tyler Moore says it was an easy decision because of the high demand for cyber security jobs across the country.

“To see where we’ve come from then to now, has been pretty inspiring to think that we can have an entire department dedicated to cyber studies,” Moore said.

Moore says there are at least 200,000 cybersecurity job openings right now that businesses are hoping to fill.

TU student Jess Peraza says she jumped at the chance to major in something she is passionate about.

“Cybersecurity is like a booming field right now and a lot of computer scientists are choosing this as their niche so I think it will bring more people in,” Peraza said.

Moore says cybersecurity is comprised of the best TU has to offer. He says labs with servers like these are going to give students the hands-on experience they need to be ready right out of college.

“That’s what’s exciting is that we can really hopefully meet the demand that’s out there for cyber programs that…..we maybe couldn’t have done before,” Moore said.

Moore says some of his best memories when he was a TU student was thanks to the hands-on education, he was getting…and now, more than 20 years later, he hopes to do the same with the next generation of students.

“The reason why I wanted to come back and teach a few years ago was because of the great experience I had as a student, because I got the chance to do hands-on cybersecurity work as a student even then,” Moore said.


18,000 Tulsa City Files Leaked In Ransomware Attack

The City of Tulsa said they were made aware Tuesday that more than 18,000 city files were shared to the dark web as a result of the recent ransomware attack.

The city said the files were mainly internal department files and police citations, which do contain some personal information such as name, date of birth, address and driver’s license number. They said these citations do not include social security numbers.

The city said their Incident Response Team and federal authorities continue to investigate the breach and monitor information.

Officials ask residents, out of an abundance of caution, to monitor financial accounts, credit reports and take additional authentication measures in personal accounts.

For more updates, you can visit the city’s Facebook page here or the website here.


Tulsa computer system hacks stopped by security shutdown

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TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Most residents of Tulsa are being prevented from paying their water bills after the city shut down its computer network as a security measure following an attempted ransomware attack, a city official said Friday.

The attempted breach was stopped before any personal data was accessed, city spokesman Carson Colvin said. Tulsa detected malware in its network May 6 and immediately started shutting it down to prevent hackers from accessing anything sensitive.

“It didn’t get far enough into the system to get personal data,” Colvin said.

The primary effect of the shutdown — which could last from several more days to about a month — is payment for city water services, either online or in person, because the city cannot process credit or debit cards with computers inoperable.

Residents will have five days after online payments are again possible to pay their bills without penalty, Colvin said.

The city said Thursday that police and fire responses continue, but issues such as uploading police body cameras are slowed because of the computer shutdown.

Mayor G.T. Bynum on Thursday said the hackers told the city to pay a ransom or else it would publicize that it had broken into the network, but Bynum said Tulsa didn’t pay and instead announced the breach on its own.

Bynum said the hackers’ identity is known, but he did not reveal who they are.

Federal investigators are assisting the city, Bynum said.

Tulsa is the 33rd local government in the U.S. to be hit with a ransomware attack this year, according to a tally kept by ransomware expert Brett Callow, a threat analyst at the security firm Emsisoft.

Earlier this month a ransomware attack by a criminal gang that calls itself DarkSide forced the shutdown of a vital U.S. pipeline that led to gas shortages. Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline announced last week it had begun the process of restarting the pipeline’s normal operations, delivering fuel to states from Texas to New Jersey.


TU Cybersecurity Expert Addresses Tulsa Ransomware Attack

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The University of Tulsa has an award-winning Cybersecurity Department, and its experts tell us where there’s a malware problem, there’s a solution. However, learning how to prevent ransomware attacks is the ultimate goal. 

Cyber security experts said recovering from ransomware could take anywhere from a few days to weeks or even months depending on how much data is breached.

The City of Tulsa is under a cyberattack.

Related Story: City of Tulsa Computer System Impacted By Cyberattack

“It’s apparently the city of Tulsa’s turn,” Tyler Moore, Tandy Professor of Cyber Security at the University of Tulsa, said.

Moore said ransomware is malicious software that locks all the data on a computer, scrambling it up and making it inaccessible until the ransom is paid.

“Essentially, they’ve settled on a playbook that seems to work,” Moore said. 

Moore said ransomware has been around for more than a decade and these attacks tend to come from Eastern Europe and Russia.

“When Bitcoin came along, they found an easy way to actually monetize that and target, you know, random cities in America,” Moore said. 

Ransomware gangs scan thousands of computer networks at any given time, searching for vulnerabilities. The malware could spread by clicking on an email, but Moore said more often than not, attackers capitalize on a weakness.

“It’s actually kind of scary, but the victims are selected by their willingness to pay,” Moore said. 

He said cities are targeted because many are insured. The list of attacks is growing from Baltimore to Atlanta, and even smaller towns like Okema a few months back. Victims have a decision to make: to pay or not to pay. Something that would’ve cost thousands four or five years ago, may cost hundreds of thousands today. Moore said most of the time it’s paid, especially if the data is super sensitive.

“That just encourages the gangs to go target the next group,” Moore said. 

Moore said the problem is preventable.

“Invest in cyber hygiene, ensure that software’s up to date, you have adequate backups, that your backups are kept offline,” Moore said. 

Moore said it’s an encouraging sign the City of Tulsa took several computer systems offline, suggesting those systems have not been…