According to a New York Times article from 2017, society and culture have become more aware of the frequency and severity of cyber breaches occurring across the public and private sectors around the world. In 2013, hackers were able to breach over 3 billion Yahoo accounts, compromising names, email addresses and passwords. The following year in 2014, according to a Reuters article, over 83 million accounts under JPMorgan Chase were compromised. From 2/3 of every American household — names, email addresses and phone numbers were stolen. As the world progressively depends more on the benefits of digital platforms and cyber related tools, the security and protection for those spheres increases. Biola University Computer Science students are preparing to enter the cybersecurity industry to prevent breaches like these from happening.

Jamison Meyerovitz, graduating senior and founder of Biola’s first collegiate cybersecurity team, became involved with the National Cyber League (NCL) during his sophomore year at Biola. He trail-blazed the first Biola team to attend the NCL national competition in 2020. Meyerovitz, founder and first team captain, accomplished this achievement with the help of the Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science Dr. Jason Wilson and professor of computer sciences Dr. K.C. Wong. The team placed 59th out of 922 entries nationwide in 2021 and ranked in the top 7%.

“I am very proud of Jamison and our NCL team's 93rd percentile national ranking performance this Spring. This is a testament to the theory and quality of our fundamentals approach to computer science. With increased national hostilities (e.g. US Government SolarWinds hack of 2020), our increased technologization, facial recognition algorithms, hidden social media data warehouses, and other commoditizations of our data, the need for cybersecurity is greater than ever.” said Wilson.

According to a 2020 FBI news release, cybersecurity threats are not restricted to only private sectors but as the world continues to evolve into the digital age, cyber warfare progresses.

“We are living in a new Wild West; the fifth domain is in a sense an untamed frontier. Society is on the cusp of realizing the potential of these new and captivating cyber arsenals. As a country we are still extremely uneducated about the risks that are brewing. The cyber-domain boasts hardly any jurisdiction, laws, punishment, or rules of engagement that draw any definitive lines to cyber criminality and cyberwarfare,” said Meyerovitz.

The NCL is described as “enabling students to prepare for practical cybersecurity challenges that they may face in the workforce. This can include identifying hackers from forensic data, pentesting and auditing vulnerable websites, and much more!” The competition they fabricated would simulate real-life cyberthreats in a safe environment, with the goal for students to learn how to defend and secure digital property against cyber-threats.

“With the crucial impact of cybersecurity that plays an important role in coping with cyberattacks, the NCL competition program provides Biola students with an excellent platform to prepare, learn, and test their knowledge against practical cybersecurity challenges that they will likely face in the workplace and the society,” said Wong.

Biola seeks to train and educate students in relation to the cyber industry in ethical and biblical views, according to Wilson. When asked why people should care about what happens in the cyber industry, Meyerovitz said, “The next great crisis will be a cyber crisis.”

Learn more about Biola’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

Written by Joe Conway, iBiola Reporter. For more information, contact Jenna Loumagne, assistant director of strategic communications and media relations, at jenna.loumagne@biola.edu.