Charleston Students Create Covert Device, Demonstrate Need for Physical Security in Networked Computing

Most people are familiar with anti-virus software, but what about a threat lurking right under the desk?  Well, a group of ECPI University students in Charleston, South Carolina have demonstrated just how simple it is to create an information-stealing covert device that seems like something from a spy novel.

The students embedded a popular miniature computer called a Raspberry Pi into a typical multi-plug power strip to create a device that, once implanted into an office setting, collects data covertly for recovery by the creators.  The project required collaboration between Electronics Engineering Technology students, who completed much of the necessary hardware assembly, and Computer Information Science students, who programmed the device to carry out its task.

“Covert devices are very real and prevalent in our technological world,” said Project Manager Wesley Boothe.  “These devices can be built with common materials from the internet and deployed in an inconspicuous manner with the purpose of gaining access to internal organizational data.” Appropriately enough, they named the device “The Odysseus,” a nod to the famous myth of the Trojan horse.
[Read more...]

ECPI University Professor Presents at International Conference

 ECPI University faculty member Corey Keating recently delivered a presentation at the International Conference on Computing and Missions in Doetinchem, Netherlands. Conference attendees came from all over Europe, with a few coming from the U.S. and Canada. The conference covered all aspects of technology and computing for mission organizations, many of which operate as international companies. The conference theme centered on mobile computing to enhance effective operations.

Mr. Keating’s security presentation focused on Deniable File Systems and was featured in the Advanced Technology Track. “Although encrypting data is a trivial task, the ability to plausibly deny the existence of truly sensitive data, even under the pressure of hostile adversaries, is a very difficult problem from a technological perspective, “says Keating. “I presented various methods and tools to maintain hidden, encrypted data. The methods ranged from fairly simplistic to very sophisticated, based on a person’s risk situation. Due to the potentially incriminating nature of this material to those traveling into hostile parts of the world, my presentation is not being published or made readily available to the public.”
[Read more...]

Making Things Right in His World

He was working a dead end job as a bartender and he knew he wanted more. For many at this cross road, education is the answer, and it was for LaForrest Roxbury. He didn’t want to commit to four years of education, and that is why he jumped at the opportunity to visit ECPI Moorefield when a friend suggested LaForrest could receive his degree in two and a half years.

LaForrest immediately enrolled in pursuit of an associate’s degree in IT Network Security. “The first year was hard,” said LaForrest. “I had been out of school for 10 years, but ECPI was there providing tutors and an open campus for me to practice on the computers or work in the library.”

He was able to keep his night job while attending school, but after six months, he obtained an externship which would allow him to apply the skills he learned. With that experience, LaForrest went in search of more. His motto was to shoot for the stars, “you can’t expect someone to give you a job, you have to work towards it and career services at ECPI was there to help.” He took advantage of the one-on-one interview training to prepare him for his job search. He earned a paid externship with MeadWestvaco, where he is today as full-time employee in the IT Field Service Department assisting over 900 users daily with computer, network and smartphone issues. MeadWestvaco Corporation (MWV) provides packaging solutions to many of the world’s most-admired brands like Coca-Cola and Starbucks. With 17,500 employees worldwide, MWV operates in 30 countries and serves customers in more than 100 nations. The building where LaForrest works in Richmond, Virginia, is a “green” building, and he is proud of that stating “everything is recycled.”

ECPI graduate, LaForrest Roxbury loving his job at MeadWestvaco.

With a job in his career field working for a good company, LaForrest decided to continue his education and obtain his bachelor’s. He graduated June 17, 2011. “It was the proudest day I can remember,” exclaimed LaForrest. “The school became a university and it was great to be one of the first students to graduate from ECPI University.”

LaForrest was a stand-out student who made the Hall of Fame list for his campus. He was in the National Honor Society and on the dean’s list, served as the President of the IT club, and received the Ambassador Award for his tutoring services. His grade point average with his associate’s was a 3.95 and for his bachelor’s a 3.72.

He is assisting other ECPI students. He set up an externship program partnership between MWV and ECPI bringing students to spend 140 hours earning college credit and invaluable work experience. To date two students have been hired from the program.

His aspirations are to continue his education and earn a Master’s in IT, and he hopes to be able to do that at ECPI.

Some would see the challenge – Robert Reagan saw the opportunity

Persistence pays. Just ask Robert Reagan. Robert is a recent graduate of ECPI University in Raleigh, North Carolina, with an Associate’s in Network Security. It took a lot of determination for him be to a graduate starting a new job as a Lap-top Technician at Flextronics.

Robert spent his former life as a tractor trailer driver. After experiencing and surviving two heart attacks, Robert received strong encouragement from doctors to leave his job due to the risk of his health and life. Without that income and no other employment Robert lost everything: his home, land, car and more devastating – his son whom he had raised until that point.

With supportive friends, Robert moved in with one and was taken to ECPI University where another friend paid the admissions fee. He passed his admissions exam and began his schooling aspiring to change his life path.

Adversity didn’t end there for Robert. Over the course of his schooling he moved four times trying to reduce his commute which was many times on foot, walking to and from school despite the distance or weather conditions. He experienced more health problems with his heart which were finally addressed; however this set him back two months in school. The degree program should have taken him a year and a half but took him two.

He had great support from the staff of ECPI. When he needed a ride, Gloria Hicks, Director of Student Affairs, helped him find a car pool. When he needed a part-time job, Alan Levinson, Director of Career Services, helped him to find a job that would work around his school schedule. When finances were exceptionally tight, Robert benefited from the goodwill of people who wanted him to succeed.

Robert now sees a positive future, “this has been a three year process, getting through the health problems, getting a new place, getting an education and getting my son back.” The job offer from Flextronics utilizing his education in network security was the turning point for Robert. “I have never seen anyone so excited,” said Gloria Hicks. “Robert said he was afraid he dreamed it.”

For Robert education was the key to changing his life. He is a great example of someone who worked to overcome the odds and search for an opportunity to begin a new life.

Two ECPI University Students Awarded Scholarships from Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation

ECPI University students Eric Bell and Wesley Booth were pretty excited on May 16 when they both were presented $1,000 scholarships from the Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation. Together Amy Lawrence, Program Manager of the Charleston Digital Corridor and ECPI University’s Charleston Campus President, James Weaver presented the scholarships to the Electronics Engineering Technology and Network Security students.

This scholarship fund was created to educate tomorrow’s innovators by providing scholarships, internships, public speaking engagements and other relevant workforce development initiatives.  The students were selected based on academic performance, attendance and an essay judged by Digital Corridor member companies, eGroup, BoomTown and SLANT Media.

Each year, the Digital Corridor holds the iFive:K Run/Walk/Shuffle, Charleston’s only weekday, evening race through historic downtown Charleston, as both its spring networking event and a fundraiser for the scholarship.

“This partnership is a natural extension of our commitment to further the Charleston community by enhancing our native workforce and fostering lasting community relationships,” said James Weaver.

From left to right: James Weaver, Campus President; Ernest Andrade, Executive Director of Charleston Digital Corridor; Amy Lawrence, Charleston Digital Corridor; Liz Wilmes, eGroup; Wesley Boothe, CIS Scholarship Winner; (back row) Mike Stokes, eGroup; and Eric Bell, EET Scholarship Winner