UNH students battle cyber crime, fighting new war waged online

WEST HAVEN, Conn (WTNH)–Collecting evidence from seized drones. Helping law enforcement determine who the owner is and if they’ve been illegally flown.

It’s one of many lessons learned by students at the University of New Haven Cyber Forensics Research & Education lab. Complete with the latest high tech tools, students carry out forensic analysis on all types of technology.

UNH student and Army veteran Cinthya found a vulnerability in a popular messaging app used by millions.

She and others like Navy veteran Joseph Ricci are now hoping to make a difference on the “cyber battlefield”.

“I’d like to get involved with the federal government, try to help bolster our defenses and prevent these hacks from happening,” said Ricci.

All of this as the world has seen cyber-security breaches dominate headlines for months.

“This is huge, this is critical. These are things we depend on every day that I think people take for granted which could be taken away easy just because of a lack of cyber security,” said Ricci.

Training for TJ Balon includes nationwide hacking competitions. The latest test was to break into the servers of a fictitious hospital.

“You could get addresses, address, social security, everything a hospital normally stores,” said Balon.

They’re learning how to do it, so they can stop it. The need for students like this, at a time like this, couldn’t be greater.

“There is more demand than supply,’ said Abe Baggilli, Elder Family Endowed Chair, Founder Cyber Forensics Research and Education Group (UNHcFREG) University of New Haven, Tagliatela College of Engineering.

Baggilli estimates there could be 1-milion job openings in cyber security, with starting salaries between $85,000 and $120,000 a year.

It’s a world more cyber connected than ever.

The threats, from identity fraud to national security are higher than ever.

“If you can manipulate social networks like Twitter in such a way that you can send a massive message that can reach millions of people, and that message is actually fake. Essentially, you are using the cyber world to affect people’s thought processes…and that’s really something that is super powerful,” said Baggilli.