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Roundtable discussion

Cyber security: Teamwork, education key to battling problems

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When it comes to security, teamwork from a variety of people and organizations is the path to success, local leaders said at a Feb. 18 Daily Transcript roundtable.

A growing threat to security is in the cyber world. And participants said it is up to everyone to help prevent problems -- something San Diego already is on the path to accomplish.

The roundtable, sponsored by The Security Network, brought together officials from various security fields.

"You can see this is multi-dimensional," said Darin Andersen, COO for ESET. "There's very much a technical piece, very much a general awareness piece, and education."

He said that, in the past year, the attitudes have changed about cyber security. But there still is room to grow in getting everyone to realize its importance.

Rick Moy, president of NSS Labs Inc., explained two factors that determine one's cyber security -- people and the tools.

People can be educated to understand threats and help monitor their own activity. But they also need the right tools, he said.

"Tools are a really interesting spot because that's a place where there's a lot of expectations of protection," Moy said, explaining that protective tools set to basic configuration will not catch many threats.

Security professionals can help. The average person can be well intentioned, but still could make a bad choice that opens them up to a cyber crime.

And in today's society, cyber crime is not something to be taken lightly.

Assistant San Diego Police Chief for Patrol Operations Boyd Long said cyber crime continues to be the fastest growing crime in the nation and in the region.

"I think we have a lot of people who have been committing crime related to gang activity or related to violent assaults who have realized there's not as much money in that as there is to go on the Internet," he said. "There's a lot less penalties associated with Internet-type crime or assuming someone's identity or stealing their credit."

While law enforcement officials do what they can to solve those crimes, Long said they ultimately only can solve a small portion in the end.

Each individual must take some control and responsibility for their own security. Joe Bulger, business development manager for Lockheed Martin, said he thinks part of the reason people are reluctant to take security into their own hands is because of their beliefs about security in general.

We rely on the federal government to protect the nation, the police to protect us at home, and it would be natural to expect the bulk of cyber security to be handled by someone else as well.

Many hope education will resolve those perceptions.

"Education to the public from the ground up is going to be key," said Sandi Lehan, homeland force protection coordinator for SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific. "Starting with simple things like Facebook, your Twitter account, things they are familiar with and they use every day, starting to educate them on those processes so they can help us (when the time comes)."

Maria Fischer, president of BienTech and a board member for Women in Defense, said education is needed to help bridge the gap between society and applications of technology and science. She said achieving that goal would require everyone to play a role.

"San Diego has plenty of talented, community-minded people who are willing and happy to help," Fischer said. "I don't think there is anyone else in the country who can do it as well as we can."

Many roundtable participants said San Diego could be a leader in security solutions based on past performance.

Lehan said she frequently is asked how San Diego is able to operate so well across agencies. Her answer: practice with natural disasters.

Wildfires are a fact of life in this region, and law enforcement, government, and civilian entities must work together to put them out and keep everyone safe. After years of experience, they are developing a good system.

As a result, she said San Diego has built credibility through pilot programs coverage a variety of areas including an H1N1 plan the White House asked for because they knew San Diego could handle the task.

"All the stuff we're doing is very credible, and being able to package how we did it here and being able to send it out globally is huge," she said.

Mike Davis, vice president of ISSA San Diego Chapter, said the way first responders cooperate to respond to emergencies is what needs to be translated into the cyber world.

But an issue facing those in the cyber security world is the lack of political boundaries or regulations.

Bruce Roberts, SVP for technology and advanced development at Cubic Corp., suggested San Diego has an opportunity to be an international leader as well.

"We have Mexico and relationships with Baja that maybe you could extend the concept of the relationships we have in San Diego to Baja California to set the example for migrating to an international standard," he said. "If we don't end up with an international standard that covers, like aviation, we'll never solve this problem."

Roundtable participants included:

Michael Jones, president of the Secutiry Network;

Darin Andersen, COO for ESET;

Rick Moy, president of NSS Labs Inc.;

Boyd Long, assistant San Diego Police Chief for Patrol Operations;

Joe Bulger, business development manager for Lockheed Martin;

Sandi Lehan, homeland force protection coordinator for SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific;

Maria Fischer, president of BienTech and a board member for Women in Defense;

Mike Davis, vice president of ISSA San Diego Chapter;

Bruce Roberts, SVP for technology and advanced development at Cubic Corp.;

Shekar Viswanathan, Professor & Chair, Department of Applied Engineering, National University;

Del Kintner, President, AUVSI San Diego Chapter.

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