"In the not too distant future, we anticipate that the cyber threat will pose the greatest threat to our country."
—Robert Mueller, Director of the FBI*
Information and Cyber Security
Malware, data breaches, denial of service, phishing, and other cyber attacks are proliferating. Highly publicized attacks on major corporations, governments, infrastructure, and financial organizations are in the news almost daily, underscoring the need for professionals who are trained to recognize and deal with cyber threats.
Cyber attacks can come in a variety of forms, but often the intent is malicious — an attempt to bring down a computer system, or an intrusion seeking to access and steal intellectual or proprietary data and information. At risk are such things as trade or industry secrets, corporate reputation, customer data including credit card information, and even physical damage to equipment. In fact, a recent report by the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive highlighted the ease with which foreign collectors of economic information are able to operate in cyberspace with relatively little risk of detection by their private sector targets.
As governments and private entities become increasingly dependent on computer technology to transmit and store sensitive data, intellectual property, and financial transactions, the need for information security and risk analysis professionals will increase.
Why Security and Risk Analysis at Penn State?
Former National Security Agency Director Mike McConnell recently warned that the U.S. government is not equipped to detect and deflect a catastrophic [cyber] attack.
Penn State’s security and risk analysis degree focuses on the technologies, education, and policies to protect people, information, and other assets. Students are introduced to the tools and skills needed to determine the required confidentiality, integrity, and availability of an asset (i.e. a person, structure, facility, information, material, or process that has value).
The degree looks at how to design secure systems, evaluate and measure risk, and ensure that proper levels of privacy are maintained for individual technology users, businesses, government, and other organizations. Courses specific to information and cyber security are embedded within the degree program. These courses can provide you with an understanding of the theories, skills, and technologies associated with network security, cyber threat defense, information warfare, and critical infrastructure protection across multiple industries.
Penn State is also recognized as a National Security Agency Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense and a Center of Academic Excellence for the Intelligence Community. The Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology is a leader among information schools, and the faculty are a diverse group of thought leaders from numerous fields, including computer science, engineering, psychology, chemistry, artificial intelligence, and more.
Who Should Apply?
The SRA major is designed to provide a unique, interdisciplinary curriculum that integrates areas of study in information assurance (both digital and physical security), intelligence analysis, and cyber forensics. If you work in or aspire to work in areas of information and data security, system security, network security, cyber security, intelligence, cyber-intelligence, intel analytics, or cyber crime prevention, this could be an excellent program for you.
Career Opportunities for Graduates
As people and organizations continue to shift more of their business and personal interactions to the Internet, the need is growing for professionals who can keep information and data secure. You can find such careers in business and industry, government and intelligence, and protective services and criminology, among others.
With the BS in SRA, you can prepare for positions such as:
- applications security specialist
- network security specialist
- computer forensics specialist
- computer system auditor
- intelligence analyst and specialist
- cyber-intelligence analyst
- business intelligence analyst
- business process analyst
- counterintelligence and counterterrorism threat analysis
- economic crime analyst
- information security analyst,
- international crime officer
- policy analyst
- program and management analyst
Online Education at Penn State
Penn State has a history of 100+ years of distance education and more than a decade of experience in online learning. We create an online learning environment that offers you the same quality education our residential students experience in a face-to-face setting. Learn more about Penn State World Campus.
When you have successfully completed this program, you will receive the same Penn State diploma that all of our graduates receive. You will become part of a worldwide network of alumni and can choose to join the largest dues-paying alumni association in the world with more than 170,000 members.