A Winona College's Cyber & Information Security program ranked # - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

A Winona College's Cyber & Information Security program ranked #1 nationwide

WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) -

The World Wide Web is a great tool for teaching, learning and communication, but it can also be a dangerous place where private information can be compromised. 

A local college is teaching how to identify possible hostile targets on the dark web.

The Minnesota State College Southeast's Cyber and information security program has been ranked number one nationwide by GreatValueColleges.com.

The program incorporates cyber security, forensics and criminal justice. 

"But most tools are indeed double-edge swords," said Dean of Trade and Technology Travis Thul.

That's where programs like Minnesota State College Southeast's cyber and information security program in Winona come in. The program aims to help the cyber security professionals of tomorrow help others protect their private information and finances.

"Everything is online, from bank accounts to your home automation. Cyber security is really a way of protecting that infrastructure as it grows," said Thul.

He said when it comes to crimes online, the criminology aspect of the program helps students understand the mind and mentality of the criminal; what information do they want from you and how do they go about getting it. 

"Having to keep a finger on the pulse of the criminal justice world and how that intertwines with technology is a very big lift and we're very thankful that the faculty we have working on that component are, in my opinion, some of the best you'll ever find," he said. The faculty consists of military, academic and private sector professionals.

He adds that online threats to homes and businesses are through phones, tablets and computers. "Every device that you have that's connected to the network is a pathway that could potentially be exploited in the wrong hands."

One piece of advice Thul offers is, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.

"There was an old scam that had gone through where there's a Nigerian prince contacts you and says my cousin has millions of dollars, just send me all of your information. And there is an endless supply of people who are creative in trying to separate a victim from their resources." 

Thul said enrollment in the program tripled since the program started in 2015. 

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