Law enforcement officers from across Missouri can now receive continuing education credit for attending a cyber crime prevention class called “Social Engineering 101,” led and developed …
Law enforcement officers from across Missouri can now receive continuing education credit for attending a cyber crime prevention class called “Social Engineering 101,” led and developed by Warren County Emergency Management Director Jim Sharp.
Sharp recently announced that his two-hour seminar has received certification from Missouri’s Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission, the governing board that sets the licensing standards for law enforcement officers. The certification means officers can attend Sharp’s course to help fulfill continuing education requirements set by POST.
The class focuses on social engineering — the process of manipulating people’s behavior — because that’s how the vast majority of current cyber attacks begin, Sharp told The Record. He said most people associate cyber crime with the idea of an expert computer hacker, but that most criminals don’t actually have that expertise. Instead, they use low-tech methods of manipulating people into giving them access to computer networks.
“Making a computer do something it wasn’t designed to do is almost impossible unless you know how to reprogram it. Getting the users of those computers to do something different is relatively simple,” Sharp explained. “Social engineering means manipulating people to do things that they wouldn’t normally do, or tell you things that they wouldn’t normally tell you.”
The seminar is available to any law enforcement or emergency agency, or any community organization, all at no cost, Sharp said. He commented that part of his job as director of Warren County’s Emergency Management Agency is to provide information about preparedness and prevention that can help anyone in the community avoid the impacts of natural or man-made emergencies.
He added that POST certified the social engineering seminar because of how important it has become for law enforcement officers to be aware of how these criminals operate.
“The most important part is the self-awareness of the information that we all put out there,” Sharp said. “Watch what you say, watch what you put on social media. ... Be aware of what you’re casually saying about yourself that might make you a little more vulnerable than you might have been otherwise.
“I didn’t write (the course) specifically for law enforcement, but the folks at POST decided it was worthwhile to award credit for it because of the relevance of it,” he added.
Sharp noted that the POST certification for the social engineering class is actually the third of his seminars to receive continuing education certification. He also provides a presentation on organizing and responding to school shooter scenarios, and another on communicating with the public during a crisis.
For information about disaster prevention and preparedness, or to schedule an informational presentation, go online to www.warrencountyema.com, or email Sharp at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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