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Cynthia Thomas

Hacker attacks happen every day. And Cynthia Thomas, an assistant professor of computer science at NKU, recently developed and piloted NKU’s first cybersecurity fundamentals course to teach her students basic principles to protect against them.

“Cybersecurity is a totality of so many different things,” she says. “And it’s fun. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming—it’s just data and computers. It’s the human element you have to worry about.” She points to emails, phishing scams and social media clickbait as ways people jeopardize their information.

“To think like a hacker, you have to understand what you have,” she says. “You have to understand social engineering and why people are actually the vulnerability. Why would someone want my information? Because it’s valuable.”

Thomas doesn’t want to scare anyone from enjoying the internet, but she does advocate caution. “It’s not just that your personal information is being collected,” she says. “That’s what makes cybersecurity all-inclusive. If you do your part and the next person does their part, everyone is locking everything down and protecting each other.”