Accolades on My Master’s Program

Utica College:
Master’s Degree in Computer Forensics and CyberSecurity

From my professors:

Outstanding paper on cyber bullying. This is not only one of the best in the class, but one of the most thorough and historical accounts on the subject that I have read.

Jeff, You absolutely nailed this discussion forum. Your response to the discussion prompt was thorough and analytical, showed great creativity, and was supported by high-quality, properly cited sources. Your proposal of the strict BYOD policy in particular shows that you are “in tune” with current trends in cybersecurity. Keep up the good work.

Jeff, Fantastic job in this discussion forum. As I mentioned in the discussion itself, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that the Internet is a physical thing that is subject to damage, and not just a virtual, ethereal concept. You also went above and beyond the assignment requirements in responding to your classmates, and cited your sources well. Keep it up.

Such a great submission. In addition to correctly addressing all assignment requirements, the inclusion of all of the photographs added a nice touch. Great work and no issues to report. I really liked how you tied the date to national and historical events; that’s a first!

Well written presentation, correctly addressing all aspects of the assignment; verification via hashing, as well as discovery of hidden message due to font color change. No issues to report.

Excellent presentation. In addition to correctly summarizing each of the terms in-depth you correctly completed the hashing exercise. I have yet to ever have a student examine the HTML so that was really cool. Nice work and be sure to retain this presentation for future reference.

Excellent presentation or report; I can’t tell! Comprehensive and accurate summary of computer forensics evidence presented, as well as the grandmother’s testimony and how it conflicted with her work schedule. Nice inclusion of screen shots, as well as identification of NetAnalysis and CacheBack; you clearly articulated the issues that occurred with the returned results generated by the forensics tools. In short, the evidence was there but in my opinion, the technical challenges presented by the defense brought the validity of the evidence into question.

Excellent submission. I really liked how you identified and labeled all of the discovered devices within the photograph; very professional and easy to follow. Computer handling procedures were spot on and the supporting photographs were very helpful.

The step by step procedural detail was excellent! The supporting photographs and detail left no room for speculation. I could easily identify the specific remote, as well as the specific batteries. Excellent work and no issues to report.

Excellent presentation and supporting documentation provided through email. All assignment requirements were addressed in depth and correctly. Nice work and no issues to report.

Rutgers University: 
miniMBA Master’s: Social Media Marketing 

“Jeff, this is great work! You’ve done a wonderful job outlining your plan. It’s very realistic and I love the logic and targeting information you’ve built into it. …in terms of your strategy, everything looks solid. Nice work!”

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Cybersecurity Complacency

cybersecurityIt is human nature that we do ourselves harm or neglect ways to keep ourselves healthy even when we know it is against our best interest. We fool ourselves by thinking “it won’t happen to me,” or “why bother.” We smoke, we text and drive, we consume mass quantities of alcohol—and we neglect our own digital security.

What does John Q. Public think about digital security?

A 2011 study conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance revealed a shocking lack of knowledge and a high level of complacency amongst educators when it pertains to their own protection and to that of their students. A staggering 76% reported that they have spent less than three hours in the past year on cyber protection training and that only 8% reported devoting six or more hours to the subject in the past year. 42% of adults believe that the individual is responsible for keeping the internet safe—40% of those people have not even taken the simple step of changing their passwords in more than a year—if ever.

Schools do a good job (90% of them) at shielding students from digital threats, but very few teach them anything about how to protect themselves. My son is in a dual-enrollment program in high school. One of his subjects is “Computing.” He spends a great deal of time learning Excel and Word, but not a second on security.

A Scout is Loyal, Brave, Reverent, Trustworthy—and in Danger

I had a similar problem as webmaster for several Boy Scout Troops. When asked to post photos with full names of Scouts, I would refuse. “Why not?” I would be asked. There have been cases in which child abductions have occurred because “bad parents” were able to find their kid’s info on Scout websites. It’s BSA policy not to publish full names. The response I often received was: “Ahh, just do it, what’s the big deal?”

The problem also exists on the other end of the age spectrum. Several months ago I was asked to conduct a seminar on smartphone use for seniors at the YMCA. My students were attentive, inquisitive, and surprisingly knowledgeable on many aspects of their devices. I concluded with a segment on security. There were many blank stares and a few asked me for a definition of “cybersecurity”—and still didn’t understand it.

It’s alarming to see the lack of concern exhibited by so many people in regard to their own safety. There are efforts being made and many resources for those who seek them out, such as the book, Cybersecurity and Cyberwar, by P.W. Singer and Allan Friedman, who make the subject approachable for average people. In 1980, Mothers Against Drunk Driving started a movement and has rallied Americans to take a stand against impaired drivers. Perhaps we now need a Mothers Against Complacent Cyber Victims.


Boy Scout Troop 626 Queen of All Saints Basilica Chicago, Illinois (n.d.)  Retrieved January 7, 2014 from

Franceschi-Bicchierai, Lorenzo (2014, January 3). Cybersecurity Simplified: A Reality Check for the Digital Age.  Retrieved January 7, 2014 from

National Cyber Security Alliance (2011). Retrieved January 7, 2014 from Study Fact Sheet Final _0.pdf

National Cyber Security Alliance (2011). Retrieved January 7, 2014 from User Study_Final_11_15_11.pdf

Symantec Corporation (2012, October 15). New Survey Shows U.S. Small Business Owners Not Concerned About Cybersecurity; Majority Have No Policies or Contingency Plans [Press Release].  Retrieved January 7, 2014 from

This post was originally submitted in January 2014 as a discussion post in the MS-Cybersecurity and Computer Forensics program at Utica College.

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James Madison: Cyber Warrior

James MadisonIt’s great when you find your special interests converge. I have always had an interest in American history and especially American Presidents. And now, my new interest is cybersecurity and computer forensics after completing my Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Computer Forensics at Utica College. I had not realized this, but our Founding Fathers were very fond of encrypting their messages. They feared that they may fall into the wrong hands. Who knew that the NSA went back so far! It stood to reason, though, as mail robberies were common, and this was the only form of communication available over long distances.

Madison CipherOur fourth President, James Madison, was especially adept at encoding messages (and he was maybe the most paranoid), but so were Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, amongst others. They began using a polyalphabetical code developed by James Lovell, a Continental Congress delegate from Massachusetts.

Lovell’s code was time-consuming and Madison, along with Edmund Randolph (a Virginia Governor and US Secretary of State), developed a secret seal to circumvent it.

In writing to Monroe, Madison developed a 600-element code, thinking it would suffice and would “answer every purpose.” But, it proved unworthy, and the code was lengthened to 1,500 elements. Eventually this grew to 1,700 elements, and was known as “Jefferson’s Third Cypher.”

Thomas Jefferson—CodeWarrior

Jefferson used encoded messages with others, as well. “I send you a cipher to be used between us, which will give you some trouble to understand, but, once understood, is the easiest to use.” In 1802, President Jefferson wrote this to the US  Minister to France, Robert Livingston.  The cipher he used was derived from the Vigenere cipher, which was used in Europe and considered unbreakable until around 1830. The code was based on a twenty-eight-column alphanumeric table.

Intercepted messages, and perhaps even a Colonial form of identity theft, was prevalent in Madison’s day and they took all precautions they could, much as we use anti-virus software and strong passwords.

Some information for this post was found at Library of Congress, American Memory. Link here. 

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