Author Archives: Ginger Andrews

About Ginger Andrews

Information Systems, B.S. and Security & Assurance, M.S.

Top Secret Colonials

Would you like to help out the newest organization on campus?  Or do you know of a company or someone who would like to assist students in learning more about National Security?

Here is a chance to do just that!! The Top Secret Colonials have a GoFundMe account.

If you are not familiar with the Top Secret Colonials……They are non-profit group of RMU students that participate in the National Security Conference at the Washington Center in Washington, D.C. This will be the third year that RMU students have participated in this specific conference that is held each year in May.

What is special about these students you may ask?  These are your fellow classmates who have an interest in becoming the future computer professionals that help assist our nation in securing our cyber world.  They participate in a two-week conference where they will learn from national security experts.  Cyber security is such a vital part of everyone’s daily life.  Each year lives and money are lost to some form of hacking through the Internet, cell phones and other cyber technology.   This is such a unique experience that will allow these students to become the best of the best in securing and protecting this nation’s cyber world from foreign and domestic entities – the entities that are constantly looking for ways to take advantage of our citizens and our future economic growth by committing a variety of cyber crimes.  For example, Internet fraud, e-Scams, network intrusions, identity theft, cyber bullying and many others.  People in this country continue to lose their lives and their hard earned money.

Won’t you please help assist our future professionals?

These students are our future to creating security software and being instrumental in creating the laws and policies to protect us all.  Top Secret Colonials Mission Statement:  “Promote Education in Cyber Security While Raising Awareness to Those Utilizing Cyber Technology”

Any donation amount would be appreciated!  Whether you are able to assist monetarily or not, please help by sharing our link with all of your family, friends, co-workers, business owners or anyone that wants to assist us and learn more about the Top Secret Colonials and their mission.

For information on other fundraising initiatives of the Top Secret Colonials, please contact Dr. Karen Paullet or follow the group on Facebook:

Passwords ARE Important

I know it really is a pain to have so many passwords.  “No one can figure out my password; it’s no big deal.”

Have you ever bought a router, XBox, or Play Station and thought, “I don’t need to change the default password.” Well, after reading this you may think otherwise. How private is private anymore?

How about a few scenarios…..

1. You just bought a baby monitor camera for your sister who just had a baby.

2. Your mom is a widow and has had someone break into her shed lately so you get her a surveillance camera for her property.

In both scenarios the cameras were installed and are up and functioning properly. Wait, did they remember to change the default password? You might want to check! It is very important to change default passwords!

Video surveillance and webcam cameras are reportedly being streamed online without the knowledge of the camera owners. This type of exploitation is not only scary, but an invasion. These security feeds are being accessed because the owners did not change the default passwords.

There are reports of videos that show babies sleeping in cribs, children playing inside day cares, people in malls, live views into couple’s bedrooms, inside looks of small businesses, school buses from Pittsburgh and even looks within industrial plants. These compromised video feeds are from around the world, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen right here. Some feeds are reported to be from private homes right in Beaver County.  Check out this article for more information:

Please pass the word – default passwords must be changed for security! If you don’t, you may become an Internet star without even knowing.

The Washington Center Experience – From a Student’s Perspective

Have you heard of the newest club on campus…. the Top Secret Colonials?  Their mission is to promote education in cyber security. This group does a variety of fundraisers to raise money for the National Security Seminar in Washington, D.C.

How would you like to spend two weeks in D.C. with your fellow classmates and others from colleges across the country learning about our National Security in Information Systems?

Dr. Paullet and 20 of your classmates did just that. In May, these students took the 6 hour trip to D.C. They got to experience a trip of a life time and learned about our country’s National Security. Upon arrival they checked into their dorm-like apartments, became experts on utilizing the metro, and became friends with other students across the country.

They were privy to a variety of national security information that they otherwise would never have learned. They had to swear to not publicize the information received on social media. They toured the FBI building and got to ask federal agents a variety of cyber security and information systems questions. They visited the ICANN building where they had another question and answer session with those at the top. They were able to learn and ask point blank questions of the presenter, Dr. Fair, in reference to the FATA region and the utilization of drones in military missions. How about a chance to tour the Chinese embassy and ask questions right after the cyber attacks on major Pittsburgh companies?  Yes, they had a chance to do that, too!

A trip to the FISA court gave them the opportunity to speak to FISA Judge Reggie Walton, who, by the way, is from Pittsburgh, PA. They asked questions about recent cases and then were able to tour the judge’s chambers. The list of speakers each day was extraordinary. There were dignitaries, professors, lawyers from the U.S. Marshall’s Office, the Department of Justice, Guantanamo Bay, the Treasury Department and a non-profit organization for educating children in Pakistan. Each speaker talked about how cyber law(s) and information systems security is of the utmost importance in each of the specific federal sectors that they work in.

It wasn’t all work; there was time to explore downtown D.C. and see the city that seems to never sleep, and enjoy great restaurants and shop for awesome souvenirs. They were able to tour a number of our nation’s national monuments, where they had time to explore and take many pictures.

If you have ever thought about a job with the federal government, the students were able to speak and learn about the career paths of those that have served in our Armed Forces and have gone on to other federal and contract positions for our government.

The next National Security Seminar is just around the corner in May. The topics for next year are: Week 1- Inside the Defense and Intelligence Community and Week 2 – Negotiating Global Challenges.

So for an extraordinary adventure that you will never forget …… don’t delay, contact Dr. Paullet if you are interested in the National Security Seminars and earning college credits.