Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Cloud

3/6/2019
03:15 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

Meet the New 'Public-Interest Cybersecurity Technologist'

A grassroots movement is emerging to train high-risk groups and underrepresented communities in cybersecurity protection and skills - all for the public good.

[CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1]

A glimpse of what security vendors could do for the greater good of society and democracy came in the run-up to the 2018 US midterm elections, when a wave of firms – including big names such as Alphabet unit Jigsaw, CloudFlare, Microsoft, and McAfee – all offered free security services and products to state attorneys general, local election jurisdictions, and campaigns to help them secure their websites, end users, data, and communications.

The catch in some cases, though, was that many of the free services – everything from user account protection, DDoS mitigation, email security, and malware detection – were offered gratis only for a period of time before, during, and after the election. Critics said those temporary freebies were more about a new business opportunity than a full-on philanthropic effort.

But not Jigsaw, whose mission is to assist vulnerable communities around the globe. Dan Keyserling, chief operating officer at Jigsaw, which spun out of Google's Alphabet, says the organization's free cloud-based security service, Protect Your Election, also was recently deployed in Ukraine during the elections in that nation, and a team from Jigsaw was on-site assisting. The service includes DDoS mitigation, password manager, password compromise alert, and personalized security recommendations, for candidates, campaigns, publishers, journalists, NGOs, and election-monitoring sites.

"We operate in extreme circumstances with high-risk users. We often operate in countries where there's systemic oppression," Keyserling says. "They are on the frontlines and need access to information and to share it with people who need it. They're journalists, activists, policymakers ... people interested in overcoming barriers to get access to information."

Keyserling says he sees more tech companies beginning to help assist the most vulnerable users. "We're really encouraged by our friends at other tech companies who are really showing an interest in these groups of people and making sure they have the tools they need and increased their deep knowledge of security," he says.

While the security industry will always have a for-profit model, he says, there's room to contribute to the most at-risk and needy communities, he notes. That starts with having a public conversation about the issues of public-interest security risks and needs, according to Keyserling.

Reality Check
Schneier says while the freebie election security offerings from security vendors were a good example of what the industry could be doing to serve the greater good, there's still relatively little giving back right now. "Security vendors have not taken this [area] seriously yet," he notes.

The time is ripe for security to establish public-interest technologists, Schneier says. "It's coming to a head with the Internet of Things [wave]," he says, "and elections, voting machines, network platforms, algorithmic fairness, drones, surveillance, and big data. Social and policy issues are no longer ignorable."

These issues, of course, are bigger than security, he says, but he's doubling down on his home sector of security, including in his own work as a fellow and lecturer at Harvard University's Kennedy School. "Technology is intertwined with public policy: cybersecurity ... biotech, climate change," for example, he says. "There's value here. It helps democracy, which is great."

By working in the public-interest sector side of security, the opportunity exists to become a better company and policymaker, Schneier says.

"We need a cultural change," he says. 

Related Content:

 

 

 

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two cybersecurity summits at Interop 2019. Learn from the industry's most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the Interop agenda here.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
97% of Americans Can't Ace a Basic Security Test
Steve Zurier, Contributing Writer,  5/20/2019
TeamViewer Admits Breach from 2016
Dark Reading Staff 5/20/2019
How a Manufacturing Firm Recovered from a Devastating Ransomware Attack
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  5/20/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-5798
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-23
Lack of correct bounds checking in Skia in Google Chrome prior to 73.0.3683.75 allowed a remote attacker to perform an out of bounds memory read via a crafted HTML page.
CVE-2019-5799
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-23
Incorrect inheritance of a new document's policy in Content Security Policy in Google Chrome prior to 73.0.3683.75 allowed a remote attacker to bypass content security policy via a crafted HTML page.
CVE-2019-5800
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-23
Insufficient policy enforcement in Blink in Google Chrome prior to 73.0.3683.75 allowed a remote attacker to bypass content security policy via a crafted HTML page.
CVE-2019-5801
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-23
Incorrect eliding of URLs in Omnibox in Google Chrome on iOS prior to 73.0.3683.75 allowed a remote attacker to perform domain spoofing via a crafted HTML page.
CVE-2019-5802
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-23
Incorrect handling of download origins in Navigation in Google Chrome prior to 73.0.3683.75 allowed a remote attacker to perform domain spoofing via a crafted HTML page.