Cybersecurity Summit Highlights Risk Growth

Sessions at the summit held at CSU San Bernardino addressed the need to fill open positions in cybersecurity, and the need for diversity in the cybersecurity community.

by Fielding Buck, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif. / January 22, 2015
Interior of CSU San Bernardino's Jack Brown Hall. Flickr/CSUSB Admissions

(TNS) SAN BERNARDINO – “Value your information,” federal officials told Inland business people Tuesday at Cal State San Bernardino’s Cyber Security Summit.

Among them was B. Lynne Clark of the National Security Agency.

“When I say value your information, it’s not just what it’s worth to you but what it’s worth to them that would do you harm,” she said in her keynote address.

The daylong event also featured speakers from the U.S. departments of Justice and Homeland Security, bank officials, utilities officials, city officials and faculty members.

Vincent Nestler, in the business college’s Information & Decision Sciences department, demonstrated how to hack a drone. Betsy Bevilacqua, information security risk manager for Facebook, shared the basic fundamentals of risk management

“People were very eager to tell the story,” said Tony Coulson, director of the school’s Cyber Security Center.

In his introductory remarks, Coulson emphasized the omnipresent threat of cyber crime and an urgent need for professionals to combat it.

“Last year, (there were) 276,000 plus open positions in cyber security, because there’s not enough people to fill the gap. This isn’t a spy game. This is a business game. This is a government game. This is academia. It’s all of us. It affects all of our lives.”

Sessions at the summit addressed the need to fill that gap.

Other themes included the need for diversity in the cyber security community, including geographical and educational diversity as well as ethnicity and gender.

“Everybody loves to say you need information insurance policy people, you need the cyber ninjas with elbow-deep skills, or you need the reverse malware engineer. That’s hot, that’s hot! You need that! You need all of it in one way or another. ...,” said Steven Hernandez, chief information security officer for the Department of Health and Human Services.

“We need the builders, we need the philosophers, we need the engineers, we need the deep penetration testers, we need the specialists who can really hone in and get to the meat of the problem, and we need the generalists who can glue all of it together.”

The recent hack into Sony Pictures provided a context, but speakers emphasized that cyber crime can be much more mundane while just as destructive to small businesses and individuals.

Some speakers said the war against cyber crime can’t be won, but Robin “Montana” Williams, chief of the Cyber Security and Awareness Branch of Homeland Security, said that isn’t necessarily true.

“We can get there. The cyber workforce shortage is just another piece of the puzzle.”

The Cyber Security Center at CSUSB is one of the leading educational institutions in the field, several speakers said.

“We really are trying to work with academia ... to produce the manpower and the brain power that we need to tackle this problem,” said Clark. “I’m not interested in whether it’s Ivy League or not Ivy League or whether you think you’re the best or you’re not. Half of our program is about the kind of things that they’re doing here in San Bernardino to reach out to the community, to work with high schools and smaller schools to develop programs that are going to produce students that will get us where we need to go.

“In our book that’s what excellence is all about.”

©2015 The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, Calif.)

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