New ISI course uncovers online scams used by cyber criminals

April 29, 2020

ISI Course Instructor Karol Pierre

Phishing scammers, beware! Information Security Institute’s graduate student fall course, Cybersecurity Hygiene & Literacy in a Digital Age, will expose all your online conning tactics.

For Karol Pierre, the course instructor, it’s personal. While finishing up her typical day of classes during her sophomore year at Villanova University, she called her parents, presumably home in the Tri-State area, only to discover that they were in route to bail her out of jail. Scammers had convinced her parents that Pierre was remorseful of committing the crime and as a result, were willing to negotiate her bail.

“Not only was this scam fake, it was also an attack on my moral character – I had never committed such a crime. Thankfully, a course that I’d taken during my sophomore year helped me to quickly detect and stop the crime from being successful,” says Pierre.

This fall, Pierre will offer the course for first-year students interested in cybersecurity through JHU’s (Hopkins Engineering Applications & Research Tutorials) HEART program. The HEART program introduces new undergraduate students to cutting-edge engineering research and its applications to society, while also preparing students to conduct their own research projects in the future. The small classes are taught by advanced graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, according to the program’s website.

This course will introduce both offensive and defensive approaches, as well as an understanding of attacker’s perspective, to the current topics of cybersecurity literacy. Students will gain an appreciation of how digital hygiene, a routine that dictates how technology is used, managed, and maintained, has the power to prevent he likelihood of becoming a victim to cybercrime.

“I want these cybersecurity skills to become second nature to all, regardless of one’s degree program, and the best way to do that is to educate and put it into practice,” says Pierre.

Karol Pierre obtains her Master of Science in Security Informatics degree in December. Her research interests include cyber literacy, cyber awareness, malware analysis and detection, and digital forensics. This summer, Pierre is interning as an associate cloud consultant with Amazon’s Worldwide Public Sector National Security Team.


JHU Information Security Institute