Cyber Talk Radio: Developing & Connecting Local Cybersecurity Leaders

Bret Piatt, CTR Host, and Lee Carsten, president of the Alamo Chapter of the Information Systems Security Association - Episode 150 of Cyber Talk Radio

This past Saturday, August 10, episode 150 of Cyber Talk Radio hit the air on 1200 WOAI and iHeartRadio streaming. I was joined by Lee Carsten, president of the Alamo Chapter of the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), to discuss how it is developing and connecting cybersecurity leaders in San Antonio.

How did Lee get into the field of cybersecurity? He got into it because of ISSA — he was looking for a programming job and met some recruiters in the meetings. He was involved in the board from 2005 to 2011 in a director role, but he came back in 2016 as the president of the Alamo Chapter. ISSA was founded in 1984 in early days of security to meet and gather and share ideas and build field. They meet quarterly for lunch and have time to network and listen to speakers, which counts for continuing education in cybersecurity. ISSA has 157 chapters in over 100 countries all over the world — and there are six chapters just in Texas. There is also an international summit happening soon in Dallas in the beginning of October. What are some of the things that Lee’s ISSA chapter gets up to in the San Antonio community? They’ve got a program called the Child Safe Initiative, which helps parents educate their kids from online threats and bullying. ISSA is also involved in CyberPatriot, the cybersecurity team sport at high school and middle school levels. Thanks to the CyberTexas Foundation, they have a base for building a mentorship program for students in CyberPatriot, which teaches how to work in groups, soft skills and strategic thinking. These are all real life skills to help them enter into the industry with experience. For those interested, ISSA has discounted prices for college memberships and also offers local scholarships. Sign up for the next meeting on August 20 — you don’t have to be a member to come and check it out!

In the second half of the episode, we talk about “Tribe of Hackers,” a book written by Marcus Carey and Jennifer Jin with the purpose of helping people break into the security field — it’s filled with a diverse range of industry professionals’ profiles, advice and experiences. The authors talk to people all over the industry about how they found their place. Lee answers one of the most fun questions from the book: What’s your favorite hacker movie? “Ocean’s 8” — most people don’t know this, but all of the code and exploits work in the movie are real. He also debunks common cybersecurity myth — that the industry needs more bodies trained in basic work. As functions change, traditional cybersecurity jobs will eventually phase out and evolve into a need for other, more specific work. Lee and I talk about the increasing risk we’re facing because of AI — it requires computer resources that the ‘good guys’ have to pay for, but the ‘bad guys’ (hackers, cybercriminals, etc.) are willing to steal. One of the most important cybersecurity tips is to pay attention to data retention and get rid of what you don’t need, or else it could take up space and be compromised — information that is no longer relevant to your business is still valuable to criminals. Ever since the huge Target data breach that happened six years ago, more money is being spent on cybersecurity, but still plenty of breaches are happening everywhere due to the increasing availability of commercial hacking systems — hackers don’t need to have knowledge, just money to buy the systems. I ask Lee, what is the difference between security and compliance/governance? Compliance drives more security spending than anything else, because many people are just looking to check a box, which Lee believe should be graded on a scale, not pass/fail. Security, on the other hand, is when people are actually looking to keep things safe in the event of an attack or breach, instead of just looking for the cheapest or easiest solution to a compliance requirement. Security definitely is the way to go in order to protect both personal and business data!

Listen to the full episode replay to learn more about ISSA and “Tribe of Hackers.”

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