You never think it can happen to you. Cybersecurity attacks can happen to anyone at any time. In fact, just two years ago, two Wyoming colleges were the victims of cyberattacks. Similarly, hospitals, pipelines — even meat processing plants have been attacked in recent years, and the ways to combat these attacks are so much more than just “changing your password.”

The Rocky Mountain Users’ Group knows this, which is why it is presenting its annual conference at Casper College on June 8–9, along with a Cybersecurity Symposium Pre-conference on June 7.

This symposium will feature a wide array of keynote presentations, break-out sessions and more — all designed to help individuals, businesses and institutions combat cyberattacks that happen a lot more frequently than one would think.

“Everybody on the planet is dealing with [cybersecurity attacks],” said Kent Brooks, the Director of Information Technology for Casper College as well as one of the organizers of the event. “Large organizations, small organizations — us, them, you, me, and so on. The RMUG event is going to be primarily for higher education, but the pre-conference, dealing with cybersecurity, will have a bit of a broader audience.”

It will also have a broad spectrum of speakers, including Rick Wixsom, the retired Chief Information and Technology Officer at Cape Cod Community College; Tyler Vasko, the Chief Information Officer at Eastern Wyoming College; Moderator Mike Morrison of Online Business Systems; and more.

“Tyler Vasco is the CIO for Eastern Wyoming College,” Brooks stated. “And he’s willing to share his experience; it’s an experience that none of us want to have, and he’s willing to share it so that maybe some of us can better prepare and not have to deal with it. Another one of the panelists is a higher-ed guy who retired from Cape Cod Community College. A few years back, they had a million-dollar breach. Those guys lost a million bucks in 60 seconds. So those guys are gonna kick the event off.”

The event will also feature a myriad of breakout sessions, such as “Save the Data: All of the Ransomware Experience, None of the Risk”; “I Vant to Suck Your Google Storage”; “Be Careful What You Vish For”; and “From Flunkies to Cybersecurity Junkes,” among others.

The Cybersecurity Symposium is taking place on June 7 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with pre-registration and the opening reception happening the night prior. Additionally, the “Save the Data Ransomware Tabletop Exercise” will take place from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the 6th as well.

The tabletop exercise is a “fully immersive” experience that shows users what actually happens when a ransomware attack takes place.

“Participants will immerse themselves in a live-action “Save the Data” roleplay exercise focused on the real-world consequences of a cyberattack,” the RMUG website states. “From playing the part of a CIO to joining active board meetings, attendees will leave with a new and more comprehensive understanding of what really takes place when an organization is hit by ransomware.”

Registration is currently open for the symposium and all of the adjacent events. Registration for the symposium is $50 per attendee, but Brooks stated that scholarships are available to those who are interested.

“If somebody wants to go but absolutely can’t afford it, whether it’s an individual or maybe a startup business or somebody, we want to make sure that we can find a way for people to get here and participate.”

This conference is for anybody who could be a victim of a cyberattack…which is everybody.

“The reality is, there’s just more bad guys out there than good guys who are trying to manipulate, to steal and to disrupt things,” Brooks stated. “There are a lot of different things that happen. There’s oftentimes some sort of financial motive and there are many cases where people are doing things to try and trick you into doing something that you normally wouldn’t do. We’ve seen crazy stuff, where people aren’t even necessarily trying to steal your money; they’re trying to steal resources.”

Incidentally, that’s the subject of one of the sessions at the conference. And it goes to show just how important this information is to anybody with a computer. It’s especially important to larger institutions, like banks, corporations and, yes, colleges.

“Colleges are big targets,” Brooks said. “We all are. There’s just so much of it coming from so many different directions. There’s just a need for people to be aware. So I hope people show up. We’ve got a chance to introduce them to some other people who have significant experience with some of the good and some of the bad things that they’ve seen and hopefully it will help somebody else to not have that experience.”

That is the purpose of this symposium. It’s designed to help people not fall victim to malware, ransomware or any other kind of cyberattack. As technology advances, as Artificial Intelligence continues to evolve, it’s vital that regular intelligence evolves as well. And part of human intelligence is understanding things that could go wrong. That’s the purpose of the Rocky Mountain Cybersecurity Symposium — to help users understand the right things to do, and to prepare them for if things go wrong.

“The bad guys are better than they’ve ever been,” Brooks said. “It’s not the Saudi Prince email telling you that you’re going to inherit a million bucks. This stuff is good, and it just keeps getting better. So being able to train yourself to protect your business or, even as an individual, to protect yourself — if you’re online, it will benefit you.”

The Rocky Mountain Cybersecurity Symposium is happening June 8–9, 2023. For more information, or to register for the event, visit the Rocky Mountain Users’ Group website. For scholarship information, email

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