Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tech Tuesday: An Introduction to Cybersecurity Journalist David Geer

This week the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is happening in Las Vegas, the biggest, splashiest event in a city that is a trade show Mecca. No other show draws as many visitors as this one. 4000 companies will have displays set up with more than 180,000 expected to attend from all over the world. During that past year hot tech trends have included Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), the Internet of Things (IoT) and big buzz-maker Bitcoin. Behind the veil is the ubiquitous insecurity about cybersecurity. Add to this mix journalists who can help make sense of it all and you have the technology scene today.

David D. Geer is a journalist whose primary focus at this time is cybersecurity and technology. I reached out to David for a quick take on his views on this arena.

EN: How did you come to take an interest in this field?

David Geer: I have always enjoyed writing. I started writing poetry and stories at an early age. Interestingly, I had a 4th-grade teacher who had her students write themselves a letter about what they wanted to be when they grew up. She then mailed them to us when we graduated from high school. I wrote that I would probably be a writer or a “machine scientist,” so it’s fitting that I write about technology.

When the internet came along, I got into Microsoft Windows, web surfing, email, and software applications. I eventually got a job as a technician for an ISP/ telecom. After that, I went into writing full-time. It was natural for me to write about technology and cybersecurity given my experience and interests.

EN: My uncle was involved in research in the area of encryption/decryption more than 50 years ago. How has the field changed since then?

DG: Today we have public key encryption and very strong encryption. Encryption strength of 2048-bits is commercially available.

EN: Blockchain has been a major story in 2017. What is it and why is it so significant?

DG: Many sources agree that the blockchain is “a decentralized and distributed digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that the record cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the collusion of the network.” If you correctly implement and secure the supporting technologies and software, the blockchain is probably the most trustworthy record of transactions to ever come along.

EN: Cybersecurity is a fairly big deal now. Is this a field in which "the more you know, the more insecure you are"?

DG: I wouldn’t say that your statement is accurate. It depends on how valuable your information is, how hard someone else will try to get it, the likelihood that the criminal hackers will succeed, and the damage you’ll suffer if they do.

EN: How much hacking and cyber-crime originates from overseas and for what purpose?

DG: Many massive successful hacks originate from other countries. Criminal hackers do it for profit. Nation-states do it for the financial gain of companies in their countries (cyber espionage) or their governments for political or military benefit and power.

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Contact David Geer on LinkedIn
His professional website:  davidgeer.com
His Google Scholar page
List of articles on Cybersecurity and other topics. 
You can also follow David Geer on Twitter: @geercom

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