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New course shows methods for uncovering cybercrime

December 03, 2010 12:00AM

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Bill Cornell, director of surveillance at Downstream Casino, speaks to a group of PSU students about methods criminals use to cheat at gambling tables.

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We're really responding to an increase in the demand for graduates with fraud detection skills. "
~ Becky Casey, chairperson of the Department of Accounting and Computer Information Systems
burg State University students interested in a career uncovering fraud and crime can get a fresh perspective through a new course in the Department of Accounting and Computer Information Systems.

Jim Harris, a professor in ACIS, will be offering the topics course Computer Forensics in the Spring 2011 semester - a new class that will delve into the underworld of cybercrime. Covering a broad range of computer-based criminal activity, the class will focus on everything from financial and accounting fraud in business to more lascivious crime such as child pornography.

Harris, who came to PSU 31 years ago after working in programming and software engineering for NASA, has prepared for a year for the new course, which is focused on methods for uncovering the traces of computerized criminal activity. In preparation for the course, Harris received a teaching enhancement grant, the Access Data Certified Examiner certification, and training on the most popular software used by law enforcement and businesses today.

"Students will learn the latest tools and procedures to properly trace evidence," he said. "We knew it would be a course students pursuing this line of work would be interested in."

At some point, said ACIS Chairperson Becky Casey, the course may become part of PSU's fraud examination minor, which has been growing since it was introduced four years ago. A minor available to justice studies and ACIS majors, it looks at uncovering broad areas of criminal activity.

Last month, students and professors from both departments traveled to Downstream Casino Resort in Quapaw, Okla., where they listened to casino officials present sessions on security and surveillance as well as money laundering. Security officials discussed the role employees and interns have in uncovering criminal activity such as theft, the use of counterfeit money, and cheating at gambling tables.

Dr. Roy Janisch, assistant professor of social sciences, said that with PSU's proximity to multiple casinos in both the Northeast Oklahoma and Kansas City areas, the opportunities for internships are rich. Encouraging students to explore the courses that compose and support the fraud examination minor, professors say they hope students see the potential for pursuing an education in that area.

"We're really responding to an increase in the demand for graduates with fraud detection skills," Casey said. "It's all about protecting resources and uncovering crime, and those areas have become incredibly popular in both business and law."

For more information, visit http://www.pittstate.edu/academics/program-detail.dot?id=12980 or contact ACIS at 620-235-4561.

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