Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Ibukun Oyewumi
Ibukun Oyewumi '19
Alumnus, Computer Science
Cybercrime is predicted to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021.
“That’s bigger than the global illicit drug industry,” said Ibukun Oyewumi, a 2019 master’s graduate in the University of Idaho College of Engineering, referencing a 2016 report by Cybersecurity Ventures.
Oyewumi, a Nigerian-born U of I master’s graduate in computer science, works as a security consultant for Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s global on-demand cloud computing platform which serves millions of users in 245 countries. AWS serves companies large and small, including Netflix, Expedia Group and Go Pro.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Oyewumi said many small businesses have moved to cloud services like AWS to better protect critical information.
To fill the increasing demand for cybersecurity professionals, U of I recently launched the first cybersecurity bachelor’s program in the Northwest. The university has 15 faculty who specialize in cybersecurity education.
“There are just very few faculty who specialize in cybersecurity programs that provide sophisticated hands-on attack-defend scenarios,” he said. “That’s what makes U of I stand out. The faculty are nationally-known professors who provide hands-on cybersecurity exercises sufficient to start a long-term career in the field.”
While at U of I, Oyewumi worked with a team of students on a collaborative research effort between Idaho National Laboratory and Virginia Commonwealth University to detect cyber-attacks on a smart grid. Using real power grid equipment available on campus, the team simulated attacks and physical disturbances.
U of I is one of few universities nationwide that gives students access to a Real Time Digital Simulator (RTDS) capable of simulating any modern high voltage power grid configuration, including power from alternative systems like wind turbines. The RTDS in the Power Lab on the Moscow campus is also connected to a local control hub in the Integrated Research and Innovation Center, allowing students to mimic control operations and simulate what a cyberattack might look like as it occurs.
“To gain real experience with cyber-attack and defense scenarios, there is a real need for a controlled environment and the appropriate infrastructure,” Oyewumi said. “U of I is one of the few universities who provides that to its students.”
Before working for AWS, Oyewumi worked as a security analyst for Facebook, securing payment infrastructure across the social media giant’s multiple platforms. He also worked closely on developing security policies for risk management and U.S. Federal Trade Commission regulations to protect personally identifiable information.
“I’ve met a lot of people from big schools who are amazed by the quality of the program at U of I,” he said. “U of I has prepared me to compete with these top schools. My Vandal education has taught me that I can’t be limited and I can always reach new heights.”