Empowering Cybersecurity Awareness With Zia Muhammad

As October marks Cyber Security Awareness Month, the ever-evolving world of cybersecurity and the individuals dedicated to keeping our digital lives safe are given a time to shine. While NDSU will be hosting a Cybersecurity Conference from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 14, at the Quentin Burdick Building in commemoration of this and welcomes all to attend. Zia Muhammad a stellar Ph.D. student in the Department of Computer Science here at NDSU who has received great acclaim for their hard work and dedication sat down for an interview and provided great insight on not only their academic journey but also on how to stay aware and on top of cyber security. 

Although Muhammad’s journey in the realm of cybersecurity began with a Bachelor’s in software, their fascination with the world of cyber threats and digital security led them to pursue a Master’s in Information Security and obtain multiple certifications in the process. 

Muhammad’s journey was fueled by the desire to find security solutions for internet-related problems, social media platforms, and websites. They actively sought vulnerabilities and loopholes to preempt cyberattacks. This dedication culminated in a role at the National Cyber Security Evaluation Lab, which, in turn, sparked their decision to seek a Ph.D. in the field. 

As Muhammad is currently working with small businesses and has witnessed countless cyber attacks on these vulnerable businesses, Muhammad offers great insight on practices for the common user to protect themselves as best they can.

Muhammad emphasizes essential practices for common users to enhance their digital security. Basic cybersecurity education and security awareness are the first steps in staying safe. Creating unique and secure passwords for every online account, utilizing a password manager, keeping devices updated, enabling multi-factor authentication, regular backups to device contents, and staying informed about the latest cyberattacks, especially phishing attempts, are critical components of a secure digital life.

Muhammad also stressed that persistence and focus are key to boosting cybersecurity and enhancing resilience. By staying vigilant and proactive, individuals can elevate their “cyber probability line” and contribute to a safer online world.

As we commemorate Cyber Security Awareness Month, Zia Muhammad’s journey and insights serve as a reminder of the importance of cybersecurity in our digital lives, and the ongoing efforts to protect and educate users in an ever-evolving landscape.

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