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Cyber Crime, Cyber Espionage, and Cyber Sabotage

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at CTU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

Cyber crime and cyber espionage are endemic in the modern technological age. Though related, these terms are not completely synonymous. As its name suggests, cyber crime is criminal activity carried out on computers via the Internet. Cyber espionage, meanwhile, is a subset of cyber crime—a form of cyber attack in which criminals target governments and organizations in order to steal sensitive and valuable information. While information security analysts1 and similar occupations may function as a first line of defense against such attacks, it is the responsibility of those working in the criminal justice system to investigate and prosecute the criminals perpetuating cyber sabotage and other cyber crime threats.

If you’re interested in combating cyber crime, an on-campus or online cybercrime degree program or homeland security degree program could provide the opportunity to acquire essential foundational knowledge to help you prepare to pursue various career paths in the field.

The Current State of the Cybersecurity Landscape

According to the FBI, cyber intrusions are not only on the rise but are becoming more commonplace, more dangerous, and more sophisticated. 2 Adversaries are relentlessly targeting the United States’ critical infrastructure in a number of ways: these hackers carry out cyber espionage against American companies for trade secrets and against universities for their research and development, they target private citizens for identity theft purposes, and a number of cyber criminals prey on children for illicit purposes.2 Because cyber crime threats such as these are increasing by the day, it’s little wonder that employment of information security analysts, is projected to grow 32 percent from 2018 to 2028 (much faster than the average for all occupations).1

Cyber Crime and Homeland Security Degree Programs

For those interested in combating and mitigating cyber threats, a homeland security degree or cybercrime degree online or on-campus program could be an important early step on the path toward achieving your educational goals, and there are a number of different types of programs to choose from.

If being the first line of defense against cyber threats appeals to you, then a computer science or information technology degree program might align well with your interests. If you’re drawn to the law enforcement side of thwarting cyber crime, where you might be involved in investigating or prosecuting cyber espionage cases, or if you would like to study how to create plans, analyze risk, and develop solutions for technology and critical infrastructure protection, a criminal justice degree program with a concentration in cyber crime and security or homeland security and emergency management, respectively, might be attractive alternatives. There are even opportunities in the business and management area of study for individuals who want to concentrate on cybersecurity or homeland security. When it comes to cyber crime degree programs, there are indeed many academic options that can be considered.

Helping Address the Cyber Education Gap

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) views law enforcement as performing an essential role in realizing the United States’ cybersecurity objectives through investigation and prosecution of cyber crimes,3 yet according to the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), there is a gap in the United States between the need for competent individuals to secure networks from cyber attacks and the quality of cyber education and training.4 CSIS notes that the U.S. government’s National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) program helps address this gap by focusing on improving cybersecurity education by encouraging colleges with cybersecurity degrees to meet certain academic standards developed by NSA and DHS experts.4

The Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency have recognized Colorado Technical University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense (CAE IA/CD). The CTU cybersecurity curriculum was certified to map to the DHS/NSA cybersecurity knowledge units, and this recognition and certification is valid through 2021. The CAE IA/CD designation is applicable to the following CTU degree programs:

Interested in learning more about CTU’s on-campus and/or online cybercrime degree-related programs? Check out our various offerings in business and management, engineering and computer science, information technology, and security studies.


1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Information Security Analysts,” available at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm (visited 4/8/2020). Conditions in your area may vary.
2. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), “Cyber Crime,” available at https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/cyber (last visited 4/8/2020).
3. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), “Combating Cyber Crime,” available at https://www.cisa.gov/combating-cyber-crime (last visited 4/8/2020).
4. Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), “The Cybersecurity Workforce Gap,” available at https://www.csis.org/analysis/cybersecurity-workforce-gap (last visited 4/8/2020).

CTU cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement. Not all programs are available to residents of all states.
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