Northern Kentucky University has formed a partnership with St. Andrews Georgian University to train a group of government and private sector employees to fight cybercrime through a master's degree program.
An initial group of 60 students are taking online classes and receiving in-person training twice a year. This October, students will travel to NKU.
With Russia at its backdoor, it's no surprise the Republic of Georgia would be concerned about cybercrime, even though online threats can come from anywhere.
Student and Georgia government worker David Sakhvadze helps develop cyber policy for his country. When interviewed by WVXU, he emphasized he speaks for himself, not the government.
"Cyber doesn't recognize borders, so you can be vulnerable from distant corners," he says.
Sakhvadze has already experienced Russia's use of cyber threats for political pressure. His country has limited resources, so he's happy the Georgian Orthodox Church recognized the need and is giving scholarships to students participating in the NKU-St. Andrews program.
Inga Nafetvaridze is with the university and explains why the joint master's degree in cybersecurity is so important.
"It's more about how to create a good cybersecurity policy. After all this work that the Bishop has done, along with his group, we are going to present the first cohort of real cybersecurity specialists just in a year," she says.
NKU Dean of Informatics Kevin Kirby says the students are learning a lot. "What they will be studying is cybersecurity, network fundamentals; they do a lot of work with security in the cloud, data privacy and how to respond to security incidents."
When in Greater Cincinnati, the students will visit U.S. Bank to learn about security, for example.
Kirby wants to keep this partnership going and is even looking ahead to rolling out a second degree with students from the Republic of Georgia — a master's in business informatics.