Columbia Basin College sees huge increase in cyber security stud - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Columbia Basin College sees huge increase in cyber security students

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PASCO, WA - We all deal with some form of technology. You're reading this article now on a phone, computer, or tablet. Today, everything from household appliances to cars are tech-based, giving cyber criminals tons of ever-moving targets.

However, it's not all doom and gloom. A three year old program at Columbia Basin College has seen a 60% increase in enrollment over that time. About 100 students are taking specialized classes that will eventually land them jobs in an ever-growing field. The Department of Homeland Security has even deemed October National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

"It's definitely a hot job and it's in high-demand, nationally. We live in a really awesome place in that we have companies always wanting cyber security professionals, like PNNL and Lockheed Martin. It's a very technology-intense community," said Outreach and Retention Specialist, Elizabeth Hernandez.

"More and more things are digitally connected and there is just so much security lapse that it's just being exploited even more and more and more," said student Robert Shaffer.

As we head into the holiday shopping season, identity theft is still a hot issue in cyber security. Good advice is changing passwords often, using cash (if possible) and to never give out private information to someone you don't know.

Homeland Security is encouraging people to use #CyberAware to promote awareness in October.