Special Report: Michigan Under Attack

By: Jason Colthorp
By: Jason Colthorp
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"We do face over 500,000 attacks or people trying to get into our networks everyday that are not authorized," says Dan Lohrmann, Michigan's Chief Security Officer.

Who needs the most cyber security?

If you said banks-- you'd be right. But close behind is the government.
The feds... The states... Local governments-- all have your valuable information to protect.

While Michigan is in pretty good hands and yet, it's always looking for more cyber stoppers to join the team.

From renewing a drivers license to state police activity, the state's 4,000 servers and 50,000 PCs are monitored from a location so important to the state, we can't tell you where it is. But hackers don't need to know where it is to try and break in-- and try they do.

"We do face over 500,000 attacks or people trying to get into our networks everyday that are not authorized," says Dan Lohrmann, Michigan's Chief Security Officer.

Those attacks can be anything from a spam email to more sophisticated browser-based attacks. Which means the state has to have top-notch cyber security and the people to implement it. It starts with Lohrmann, who's been recognized around the globe as one of the best at keeping hackers out. He has a team of 30 people constantly working to stay ahead of attackers. With more support from the governor, Lohrmann has streamlined the state's online system, most notably, encrypting the state's data.

"Quite frankly, all of our systems were not encrypted when Governor Snyder came into office," says Lohrmann. "Some of it was, but a large majority was not. That was a big priority for him."

It's a priority because of one big reason according to Lohrmann.

"Cyber security is going to be with us the rest of our lives."

That means there should be lots of jobs available the rest of our lives too. But before you start guarding things like the state's website, you have to learn how. That starts at colleges like Michigan State University, where students start with a general computer science degree. Cyber security mostly is learned out in the real virtual world.
"NSA and other 3-letter agencies, they come here recruiting," boasts Dr. Rich Enbody.

Enbody has taught Computer Science and Engineering at MSU for more than 20 years and has noticed the boom in students making computers a career. While math skills are preferred, it's not the key for students to succeed.

"The real thing is, do you like solving problems? That's what we're looking for in people," says Enbody. "There is a math component because we are engineers, but really it comes down to problem solving."

He calls computer science a team sport and the team is short of a very key player right now.

"The reality is that we don't have enough women in the field," he explains. "You want to get diversity in terms of men and women, and racial diversity, (because) businesses know they end up with better problem solvers."

And right now there's a whole lot of roster spots open on those problem solving teams because the unemployment rate right now in Computer Science is better than good.

"It's zero-- it's minus-5," Lohrmann laughingly explains. "If you're good you got lots of job offers."

The market is hot, it really is."

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