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ECSO to Provide Funds to Promote Cyber Security Education

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office is giving $20,000 in scholarship money to advance Cyber Security programs and education in Escambia County. The announcement comes in conjunction with Cyberthon 2015, a community event designed to give high school and college students hands-on experience in cyber defense and engagement procedures with instruction from active industry experts.

Seizing on the concept of “Homeland Security starts with Home Town Security,” Escambia County Commissioner Doug Underhill, the University of West Florida Innovation Institute, the University of West Florida Center for Cyber security, the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, Hixardt Technologies and the Department of Homeland Security are collaborating to develop a real-world cyber operations scenario to be conducted during this two and a half day event set for January 23 – 25, 2015 at the National Flight Academy.

Sheriff David Morgan says that this is a mission that our entire community may benefit from.

“We are excited to be able to provide this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to area students that otherwise might not have means to be on-track for a cyber-security career. Cyber experts are critical to law enforcement investigations and we need individuals able to fulfill critical security operations,” Morgan said. “By supporting these students we are developing a cyber-skilled workforce prepared for high demand careers in law enforcement, the military and in the private sector.”

Underhill is also a contractor for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and  serves as executive officer of the information warfare unit at the Navy Reserve Information Operations Command at Corry Station. He says it makes the sheriff’s interest and support of cyber security makes sense from a law enforcement perspective.

“More money gets stolen in cyber space than traditional bank robberies,” said Underhill. “We lose more money and resources because of a lack of cyber security.”

Underhill says that’s why there is a big law enforcement presence at CyberThon’15. The FBI, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will be represented at the exercise. The event is designed to inspire and encourage students to pursue a career in the lucrative field.

The scholarship money comes from local drug operations seizures. For more information on Cyberthon 2015, visit their Facebook page here.