Hacking for Fun, Profit and Terrorism
On September 23, the Security & Risk Analysis Club (SRA Club) played host to an eye-opening presentation entitled “Hacking for fun, profit and terrorism”. The event was held in the IST Building’s “Cybertorium”, a large and very futuristic lecture hall that has computer screens that can rise out of the desk. The Cybertorium was nearly full with over 100 attendees- the largest SRA Club (and IST Student Organization) event to date.
The energetic and high-intensity speaker, Bill Marlow, is a self-professed geek with expertise in both cyber security and theoretical nuclear physics. Currently an entrepreneur, Marlow’s career has taken him across the world doing an incredible amount of highly interesting work for the government and private industry.
While I won’t bore you with technical information, there are a few things I’d like to highlight from the presentation:
- Even the “good guys” of computer security have to be “bad guys” sometimes. A protector of a system must think and act like a hacker in order to best protect cyber assets.
- No computer system in the world is completely secure.
- Cyber Terrorism aids physical terrorist activities. It rarely ever “terrorizes” anyone on its own.
- The U.S. Government is attacked over 280 times daily- these are just the “major” attacks.
- With over 7 Million U.S. Federal Employees, only .09% remain vigilant about protecting the Government’s cyber assets.
- Mr. Marlow was also offered the White House “cyber czar” position, but turned it down since the position has little real power. Since the Obama Administration will not give the cyber czar the power to control the budgets to protect the government’s cyber assets, there is not authority to enable any positive change. Any individual that takes the cyber czar position is almost certainly likely to fail.
Matt Maisel, a Junior Security and Risk Analysis student had this to say about the intense presentation:
I think that the most important thing he said is to always challenge the status quo of the industry and not to take anything for granted. Also when i spoke to him afterward, he stressed the importance of maintaining balance between work, family, and self.
If you are interested in finding out more about the SRA Club, visit their website here. They welcome all majors and interests.
[Picture Source: Andrew Conkey]
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About the Author
The university has pledged at least $2 million toward the multidisciplinary center’s establishment, and a fundraising campaign aims to raise $3 million in private support with $3 million in matching funds from Penn State.
Homecoming 2019 is locked in for the first week of October.
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