La Salle seniors hunt for hackers with the pros

May 26, 2017 06:57 PM

EAST GREENBUSH - At the Security Operations Center or SOC at the Center for Internet Security in East Greenbush, a team of analysts monitor hacking threats. For the past two weeks, three seniors from La Salle in Troy have been able to experience the world of cybersecurity.

"There are bad guys and it's just like a movie, it really is. You have people who are extremely clever, who want to do damage and make money and then you have the good guys," explained Don Birsett, a La Salle Institute Senior.

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These are the good guys. CIS is a nonprofit that receives funding from the federal government to monitor hacking threats to local and state governments in all 50 states for free.

"Basically being the eyes and the ears of all states and locals. Providing assistance to them as they need it," explained Brian Calkin, the vice president of operations at CIS.

Once the threat is detected, it comes up on the blackboard upfront and then these guys analyze it and decide how to address it and whether to let the government know about it.

There are about 120 employees at headquarters. In this field, it's tough to find qualified people.

"There's an overwhelming number of jobs that are available and there just isn’t the bodies right now to fill those jobs," pointed out Calkin.

He says there are upwards of 300,000 empty cybersecurity jobs nationwide. Once Johnny Noble heard about the career, he was interested.

"I was always into tracking down criminals and stuff like that and cybersecurity is a really big growing field," acknowledged Noble.

Now, it's off to get a degree in computer science or cybersecurity. 

"Really get my feet wet here, because it's the real deal," remarked Birsett.

Then, these students could the ones fighting the bad guys from a building in East Greenbush.


WNYT Staff

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