To celebrate Cybersecurity Awareness Month, UA Little Rock is profiling students studying cybersecurity. Meet Zachary Long, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in computer science.
What made you decide to pursue cybersecurity?
I had a fascination with computers growing up and computer security is something that was always fun and interesting to learn about, from finding hidden information with forensics to learning about how hacking works and how to stop it.
Why do you think cybersecurity is more important now than ever before?
In the past decade we’ve seen technologies like smart home appliances and even vehicles being connected with and using more personal data. Data like the smart home locks on a home, the cameras used for babysitting, or just monitoring the door can and have been hijacked due to unsecure practices. Being aware of all this data and trying to become more secure is necessary with just how much interconnected technology we use on a daily basis.
What do you plan to do after graduation?
I am hoping to continue my cybersecurity work in a government organization, ideally the FBI or NSA.
What opportunities have you gotten through UA Little Rock that you might not have had otherwise?
I’ve actually gotten the opportunity to meet multiple people from both of these groups. Additionally, between the Cybersecurity Club on campus, the various security classes, and now the program here at UA Little Rock, I had many opportunities to learn new skills and practice them in the Cyber Arena and at competitions with the Cybersecurity Club.
What advice would you give the average person on how to keep their information secure?
Just be aware of the information you put out. That may be what you post on your social media or it may be giving out account information to a less than reputable company.