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Hetherington Group & Dakota State University Announce New OSINT Academy

October 19, 2021

Dakota State University and Hetherington Group are proud to announce the commencement of OSINT Academy–a collaborative cybersecurity training initiative funded by the National Security Agency. The Academy aims to augment the U.S. national cybersecurity workforce by offering learner-centric, competency-focused education to transitioning military members, first responders, and other interested persons. Classes will focus on the tradecraft of open-source intelligence (OSINT) gathering and analysis and dark web investigations. The announcement was made at the 7th Annual OSMOSIScon held October 10-12 at the Bahia Resort Hotel in San Diego.

Digital security breaches and ransomware attacks have escalated in recent years, and the United States lacks the number of trained analysts and investigators needed to protect our national interests and assets. OSINT Academy seeks to increase the number of cybersecurity professionals in the coming years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that information security analyst positions are expected to grow 33% in the next 10 years–much more quickly than other occupations. The median pay for an Information Security Analyst was $103,590 in 2020.

“We are honored to be chosen by the National Security Agency to bolster our national security by providing free cybersecurity training to men and women interested in open source intelligence,” said Cynthia Hetherington, president of Hetherington Group. “Registration is now open and limited, so we encourage folks to visit the website today and enroll in this incredible opportunity.”

The advantages of learning in small classes are many, including tailored instruction and one-on-one attention. Accordingly, OSINT Academy’s online classes are small to promote optimum learning. The first training offering will be held during November – December 2021 and is capped at 20 learners; two more offerings of 20 learners will be held in 2022, for a total of 60 learners in the program.  Each training offering is 9 weeks. The material is self-study with assessments and labs due each week. 

“The goal of the OSINT Academy is to train existing professionals in OSINT and dark web investigations. Partnering with the Hetherington Group takes our academic programs and research and tailors them to law enforcement and military,” said Dr. Ashley Podhradsky, VP of Research and Economic Development at Dakota State University. “Cynthia Hetherington and the Hetherington Group are national leaders in OSINT, partnering with them advances our program and extends our reach.”

Students will be trained in best practices for OSINT and dark web investigations; learn how to identify, acquire, and preserve evidence; and develop investigative processes for traditional hard disk drives, IoT devices, cloud-based accounts, the dark web, and social media platforms.

Students must hold a high school diploma or GED and be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Prior military and/or first responder experience is preferred but not required. Former experience in investigative work, case-building skills, and legal matters is a plus.

To learn more, visit www.osintacademy.com.

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