A day in the life of Cyber Security Specialist Dustin Erhardt


Dustin Erhardt, cyber security specialist III.

There are hackers among us. And one is a lot closer than you would ever guess.

Dustin Erhardt is a Certified Ethical Hacker, just one of the many certifications he earned to help him be more effective at his job as a cyber security specialist III at Basin Electric. “It helped me learn how to be on the offensive side of security by learning what hackers do,” he says. “Businesses are always on the defensive side, and this class helped me better understand what the bad guys do and how they do it. It was really interesting, but scary.”

Erhardt says the odds are in favor of those “bad guys” because security professionals have to find all the holes a hacker could use to get into the system, but the hacker just needs to find one hole. “We need to learn what to look for and help all the users know what to look for to avoid being hacked.”

With more than 2,300 employees at Basin Electric’s facilities in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, and Wyoming, and countless cyber criminals attempting to weasel their way into the network, it takes a team of 16 to keep Basin Electric and its valuable data secure.

“A lot of people want our data or access into our systems, whether it’s to obtain user data, credit card information for financial gain, or just to encrypt our files to be destructive and earn bragging rights,” Erhardt says. “They are constantly finding clever new ways to get around the roadblocks we put in place. We can install all kinds of security controls in place, but all it could take to circumvent everything we’ve done is for one user to click a link or open an attachment that shouldn’t be opened.”

Read the rest of the story, which includes ways you can keep your business and personal data secure, in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of Basin Today: A day in the life of Cyber Security Specialist Dustin Erhardt.

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