Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business


Securing the future

Securing the future

"I think the sense of community at Quinlan is very beneficial to students," says James Fritz.

By Monica Sather | Student reporter

Quinlan senior James Fritz is a man of action. A triple major in finance, information systems, and music, he has already completed a cyber security internship at Uptake in Chicago, begun to lay the foundation for his future career at his own startup, and co-authored a research paper as an undergraduate.

Here, Fritz shares his research on the rise of the mega breach, why cybersecurity is important, and how Quinlan has aided his success.

What are you working on right now?

I just completed a cyber security internship at Uptake, a predictive analytics firm in downtown Chicago that was named the hottest startup of 2015 by Forbes Magazine. Cybersecurity is the body of technologies, processes, and practices taken to protect a computer or computer system against unauthorized access or attack.

While there, I constructed multiple data dashboards to measure various security metrics and I participated in threat exposure management training sessions in which we covered various cyber security applications. I also met the CEO, Brad Keywell, and I networked with countless people at Uptake across multiple teams.

Now I’m focusing on trying to create my own startup called SearchLight, which is a research startup that will conduct research services, including into cyber security, for other companies in the form of white papers, research papers, or data dashboards, and so on.

And then alongside that, I am practicing piano two to three hours a day.

Tell me about your research paper.

I was a research assistant for Professor Fred Kaefer and when I started out, he thought it would be a cool objective to have something published. I was interested in publishing something on cybersecurity, because it’s a topic that has been really interesting to me as of late.

Professor Kaefer and I co-wrote an explanatory paper that was published in the Journal of Applied Security Research in July on the rise of the mega breach and what can be done about it. A mega breach is an intentional or unintentional leak of sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc. More importantly, a mega breach encompasses one million or more records lost.

The paper incorporates data from Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC), a nonprofit that collects data on data breaches. We were able to figure out which types of data breaches have been increasing, which have been decreasing, how many records have been lost, and so on.

Our research suggests that mega breaches have become more frequent and that they have resulted in the loss of more records than ever before.

We found that from 2005 to 2015, cyber thieves have been able to access nearly 900 million records in 2,273 data breaches. Chances are, your records will be compromised at some point in your life, if they haven’t already been. 

Why is this research important?

Cybersecurity applies to every single company in the world, whether it's financial institutions or healthcare institutions.

At the individual level, if you don't take steps to protect yourself and your data, then you’re going to be a statistic in another paper that will be written in a few years. So if you're interested in protecting yourself and your personal financial information, then I think cybersecurity is something you should be worried about.

How has Loyola and Quinlan supported you in your endeavors?

Loyola is a great community in which it’s really easy to find employment to improve your communication skills, writing skills, or any other transferable skills that can be brought to work when you graduate. Loyola does a great job at helping you find work with your professors or for local Chicago employers.

What I like about the business school in particular is that faculty members are always willing to help you out and take the time to meet with you to talk. I think the sense of community at Quinlan is very beneficial to students.

Learn more

Read Fritz’s Weekend of Excellence profile →