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Home | Tag Archives: cybersecurity

Tag Archives: cybersecurity

Hurd On The Hill: Creating 21st Century Solutions to our Digital Challenges

No one wants to hear about another hack. As our society becomes more and more reliant on constantly emerging technologies from smart phones to smart cities, we have not been able to keep our digital information secure while harnessing these innovations.

Cybersecurity is no longer only about protecting your social security or bank numbers – it’s about keeping our electricity on and our economy functioning. Nearly every aspect of our lives nowadays depends on technology, which means they are also all vulnerable to hacks.

I came to Congress to find solutions and fix problems, which is why I’m excited to team up with private sector leaders to develop real solutions as a tri-chair of the Aspen Cyber Strategy Group. This group brings together experts and thought leaders across industry sectors to keep up to date on the latest malicious cyber threats and trends.

It can be hard to fully grasp the severity of our current situation. However, the reality is that although the concept of a cyberattack can seem distant and elusive, cyberattacks are very real and impact all of us, our businesses and our economy.

For example, this past year alone, companies lost over $1.2 billion from malware attacks. This is money that could’ve gone into investments like hiring or new equipment purchases.  Due to hacks, in 2017 alone, personal information was compromised for 198 million voters, three billion Yahoo account users and 145 million civilians due to the infamous Equifax breach, among others.  These hacks will continue to occur until we find and implement concrete, tangible solutions.

That’s why I’ve agreed to lead the initiative and the government cannot do it alone. The new group will facilitate robust conversation between 35 CEOs, lawmakers and academics on how to best address today’s cybersecurity challenges.

For us to truly find a fix to our systemic cybersecurity challenges, the public and private sectors need to work together, and more importantly, the public needs to know that without action their safety and personal information may be at risk. By utilizing experts from the public and private sectors, we will be able to develop tangible, implementable cybersecurity recommendations.

Emerging technology is an exciting thing. It allows us to travel faster, live longer, and communicate more efficiently. At the same time, innovation creates new threats, and we must do a better job protecting ourselves and our systems. This year I’m looking forward to working with policy makers, business owners and cyber experts to turn our security recommendations into action.

***

A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

UTEP’s New Collaboration is Cornerstone for Cybersecurity

“It’s exciting and it’s dangerous.” That’s how Ernesto Arreola describes our current state of connectivity in the world. The Information Security Assurance Manager for the City of El Paso was one of 23 attendees at the first community cybersecurity workshop at UTEP.

The interactive session took place inside the newly established Center for Cyber Analysis and Assessment.

“I think that not only providing the training, but allowing people to do it themselves and not just talk about it, gives them the opportunity to learn more and ask questions,” Arreola said. “Bringing everybody together that’s involved in security across the city promotes networking.”

The community component is a critical part of the new partnership between UTEP and the Army. The University has been designated as a satellite campus to the Army Research Lab South (ARL-South) initiative. The collaboration allows for the exchange of personnel between ARL and UTEP, opens more ARL internship opportunities for UTEP students, and allows ARL members to mentor students through class offerings and practicum experiences.

Through in-kind contributions of equipment, construction costs, furniture, mentorship and manpower, ARL and UTEP established the cybersecurity center and laboratory at UTEP. The main function of the center is to conduct research and design and deliver cybersecurity-related workshops for the El Paso area community.

The inaugural session was a success.

“We are trying to apply any type of security processes available to our network, so it is important for users to see a presentation and see how other companies are doing it,” said Benito Jimenez, workshop attendee and network integration manager with the City of El Paso.

ARL and UTEP staff have been working together for more than two years on informal collaborations that proved beneficial. Army staff say they needed to take advantage of local talent and leverage experts and resources. The seed money they received allowed them to establish the new center in Prospect Hall equipped with server machines, laptops and three labs now under development.

“We leverage the resources that UTEP has to not only improve the capabilities of the Army Research Lab, but also help students focus on real-world problems and train them so they’re ready for the workforce,” said Jaime Acosta, Ph.D., director of the Center for Cyber Analysis and Assessment.

UTEP computer science students already are seeing the benefits. This summer the first four students were hired for the center. Their objective is to research vulnerabilities in cybersecurity and develop workshops accordingly. Data collection from the workshops also will help with researching future solutions.

“The whole idea is these are vulnerabilities and systems that adversaries can expose,” explained Salamah Salamah, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and director of the Master of Science in Software Engineering program. “By collecting and analyzing all this data, we are learning about how people expose such vulnerabilities, and hopefully it gives us insights into how to build secure software systems that are less vulnerable.”

Salamah said the UTEP/ARL collaboration also will have an impact on the industry because there is a high demand for cybersecurity experts, but diversity in the workforce is significantly lacking. The hope is that such efforts and collaborations will help produce a diverse cybersecurity workforce.

The the first community cybersecurity workshop at UTEP was held in late August.

Author:  Lauren Macias-Cervantes – UTEP Communications

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