SUNY Canton to discuss cyberbullying

Potsdam teenager Riley K. Basford was the victim of a sexploitation scam. Contributed photo

CANTON — SUNY Canton will be adding a special panel presentation on cyberbullying following the tragic death of Potsdam teenager Riley K. Basford.

Two of the college’s cybersecurity education experts, Associate Professor Kambiz Ghazinour, Ph.D. and Lecturer Minhua Wang, decided to create the presentation titled “Cyberbullying and Social Media Use: Strategies for Prevention and Intervention” after learning Basford had been a victim of a sexploitation scam. The presentation will be held at 12:30 p.m. April 30 virtually, via GoToMeeting. It is free and open to the public.

“In our minds it’s especially important to tell the community that cyberbullying is becoming a threat to us all and we need to take efforts to address it,” Ghazinour said. “The best method to combat this type of attack is through awareness and education.”

Ghazinour has previously studied children’s online privacy from the prospective of parents and is one of the college’s most prolific researchers. He runs the Advanced Information Security and Privacy Research Lab on campus.

Both faculty members indicated that cybercrime is getting worse alongside the Coronavirus pandemic. There has been an 81% increase in cyberbullying in the last year according to a survey of support organizations. Approximately 60% of children ages 8 to 12 have suffered from cyberbullying.

Wang indicated that Basford was likely a victim of a double extortion attempt, which demands a ransom with the threat of exposing sensitive data. This type of attack can be enacted by a team trained to target victims online through publicly available information.

“We want to make sure that we raise understanding about the cybersecurity risks associated with attacks against our youth,” Wang said. “We want students to know about these threats even before they come to college.”

The educators are part of the college’s center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity, which has sponsored a series of virtual discussions on topics including human trafficking and the cyber ransom attacks against local healthcare organizations.

Other panelists include Stephanie Fredrick, associate director of the Alberti Center for the Prevention of Bullying Abuse and School Violence at the University at Buffalo. Additional presenters will include members of the SUNY Canton Counseling team, Information Services employees, and student representation from the Information Technology and Cybersecurity Programs.

For more details about the series, and for information about joining the GoToMeeting event, visit https://www.canton.edu/led.

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