UPCI Stories

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Meredith Miller

Take Advantage of All Education Opportunities

Meredith Miller, NMU Alumna

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Matt Landers

How the UPCI Changed My Career

Matt Landers, UPCI Instructor

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Doug Miller Headshot

Why the UPCI and Training are Important for Right Now

Doug Miller. UPCI Director

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Rich Lamb Headshot

Q&A with Rich Lamb

UPCI Instructor

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Sarah Tennant Headshot

Q&A with Sarah Tennant

Sector Development Director & Cyber Initiatives at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

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Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! Logo

Creating A Strong and Resilient U.P.

Hanna Duckwall and Holly Peoples of Upper Peninsula Michigan Works!

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Dr. Jim Marquardson Headshot

Protection Comes In Layers

Dr. Jim Marquardson, Assistant Professor

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Anthony Cavalieri Headshot

Q&A with Anthony Cavalieri

Anthony Cavalieri, UPCI Industry Partner

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Matt Vogt Headshot

Q&A with Matt Vogt

Matt Vogt, President, Student Cybersecurity Association

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Chris Standerford Headshot

MiSTEM helps advance the UPCI

Chris Standerford, Director of Central U.P. MiSTEM, and the Glenn T. Seaborg Mathematics and Science Center

UPCI Updates

The NMU Upper Peninsula Cybersecurity Institute is proud to announce that we now have a fully operational security operations center (SOC) through our partnership with NovaSoc. Students at Northern Michigan University will have the opportunity to work in this SOC. Students will be monitoring real clients to help identify, resolve, and mitigate cyber incidents and attacks. This is one of the first SOCs that are affiliated with a post-secondary school and provides one-of-a-kind experience with modern cybersecurity tools.

Students from NMU’s Student Cybersecurity Association participated in a capture the flag (CTF) competition from CompTIA and the National Cyber League. A cyber CTF is a series of challenges designed to test a a variety of cybersecurity skills and rewards solving these challenges with a “flag”. This cyber competition was open to high school and college students. Challenges covered a wide range of topics— some easy, some hard. Northern student, Trent Tucker, explained that “some tasks were easy, like using Nmap [a network port scan utility] to find the ip addresses of other computers on the network, while otther [challenges] were more difficult, such as properly configuring Snort rules.”

CompTIA shared that they joined the National Cyber League this year in order to help prepare students for a career in cybersecurity. In words of NMU participant, Jake Kirsten,

"This challenge was a beta for giving students real life scenarios on incident response, malware analysis, cryptography, and various other aspects of cybersecurity. Many students don’t get experience with these aspects of cybersecurity until they graduate and start working their firsts jobs. "

The Upper Peninsula Cybersecurity Institute here at Northern Michigan University plans to organize and participate in more events similar to this challenge. With plans to incorporate local high school students, the UPCI is bringing cyber security to a wider audience and providing new opportunities in the local area.

On February 5th, 2020, the U.P. Cybersecurity Talent Consortium hosted a train-the-trainer workshop at NMUs Cyber Institute for teachers in member districts. This event is helping shape the future curriculum for kids regarding issues in the cyber security realm, but also the physical one. Anthony Cavalieri, a recent graduate from the Information Assurance/Cyber Defense program at NMU, was a guest presenter at this event. He did two sesssions on password hashing and cracking and one session on lockpicking. Throughout the presentation, Anthony showed the educators how to protect their passwords and how strong passwords will deter those wishing to break in. The lockpicking session was more hands on for the attendees, they were provided with lockpicking sets and were walked through how a lock works and how to pick the example locks given.

Here are some of Anthony's thoughts on the event: "The educators were all great to interact with, and showed a lot of interest in both of the subjects that were being presented. It was a great experience for me as well, giving me an opportunity to speak to the public, and raise cybersecurity awareness around the local area."

NMU, and Anthony, are doing their best to bring cybersecurity knowledge to the forefront of our future minds, and this event was a great first step to achieving that.

On May 2nd, 2019, the Upper Peninsula Cybersecurity Institute at NMU was officially unveiled and a ribbon cutting event was held at the Northern Center. This event was co-hosted with UPCI Industry Partners: Merit Network and Michigan Economic Development Corp.

The ceremony featured a cyber Capture the Flag challenge for local high school students along with those from a HackerOne class. In addition to Merit Network and Michigan Economic Development Corp., a panel of other industry agents were present, including Keith Glendon from LucidCoast, a local technological partner, and Meredith Miller, a NMU graduate working with IBM Security as a security consultant.

The UPCI is the only Cybersecurity Institute in the Upper Peninsula; it is one of six in the state. It now offers industry certifications from CompTIA, Cisco, and more. The institute offers more than just certifications. Aiming to bring cyber-related jobs to the local area, the UPCI organizes events for the public (including high school students), collaborates with local businesses, and provides a space to learn, train, and test skills.