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Two cybersecurity faculty earn high-level certifications

2020-01-02-Abegaz-and-Payne
Dr. Tamirat Abegaz, assistant professor of computer science, is a GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst and GIAC Certified Incident Handler. Dr. Bryson Payne, professor of computer science in UNG's Mike Cottrell College of Business, has earned the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) in Reverse Engineering Malware (GREM).

While University of North Georgia (UNG) students cemented their cybersecurity prowess with a top-10 ranking in a competition this semester, two computer science faculty members recently earned high-level certifications in the cybersecurity field.

Dr. Bryson Payne, professor of computer science in UNG's Mike Cottrell College of Business, has earned the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) in Reverse Engineering Malware (GREM). The focus is on analyzing and disassembling malware to neutralize cyber threats from viruses to ransomware and beyond.

GIAC is an information security certification entity that specializes in technical and practical certification. It provides the highest and most rigorous assurance of cyber security knowledge and skill available to industry, government, and military clients across the world.

"Only 4,360 cyber professionals in the world hold this certification," said Payne, director of the Center for Cyber Operations Education. "It's the highest-level reverse engineering certification in the industry, and the hands-on training has helped me educate our future cyber leaders and prepare our Cyber Operations competition teams for contests like the NSA Codebreaker Challenge and other capture-the-flag events."

He also holds the GIAC Certified Penetration Tester (GPEN) certification, and about 9,031 professionals have it.

Complementing Payne is Dr. Tamirat Abegaz, assistant professor of computer science, with two certifications. He is a GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst and GIAC Certified Incident Handler.

"Currently, SANS' GIAC is the best digital forensics and incident response certification available," Abegaz said. "It is endorsed by practitioners in law enforcement and the private sector."

Only 9,317 professionals are certified forensic analysts in the world. Abegaz said he took the course because book knowledge is not enough to teach cybersecurity.

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