CRCJ’s Copeland: Steps to Avoid Cybercrime

Microsoft_KeyboardOctober may be National Cyber Security Awareness Month, but Visiting Assistant Professor Chris Copeland (Criminology and Criminal Justice) emphasises the importance of preventing cybercrimes year-round.

Copeland believes it is important to make UT Arlington students aware of the prevalent threat of cybercrimes, including identity fraud, malware and cyber stalking.

According to its website, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security sees National Cyber Security Awareness Month as an opportunity to engage the general public in cyber awareness. Through a series of events and initiatives nationwide, the federal office aims to create a safe, secure and resilient cyber environment.

The challenge? Technology is prevalent in today’s society, and so is the threat of cybercrimes, Copeland said.

“We are much more digitally connected in today’s world,” he said. “Everybody has mobile devices now.”

Copeland
Copeland

Copeland has taught at The University of Texas Arlington for the past two years, and his class for non-computer science majors is in high demand. In this class, students are educated in the basics of computing and often engage in discussions on networking and malware.

Copeland’s students find that his class, which discusses everyday mistakes made by most of us, is widely prudent and useful.

“I know the little mistakes I used to make with leaving myself open for cybercriminals to access me or exploit me,” said junior Courtland Alexander.

Classmate Michael Kaneaster said the most imperative steps one should take towards cybercrime prevention include having a strong password and installing anti-virus software.

Despite working in the information technology field for 18 years, Copeland himself has fallen prey to cybercrimes. However, taking measures to prevent this can be as easy as creating a strong password, he said.

“The most common password on the internet is ‘password,’” Copeland said. “The second most common password is ‘abc123.’ The most elementary steps are the most important tools in protecting oneself against malware, Trojans and viruses.”

In the future, Copeland and UT Arlington aim to establish a relationship with the Arlington Police Department, with a goal of getting police officers and university staff important computer training with a focus on digital forensics.

Currently working on completing his doctorate on digital investigations, Copeland said that as crimes occur with such ease on the Internet, it is vital to get departments the means that they need to investigate. Educating students and future law enforcement officers is a vital procedure in ensuring technological progress, he said.

For more information about National Cyber Security Awareness Month, visit http://www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month.’

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(By Charlotte Whiteley, COLA Communications)

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