From the President
Andrea Hoy, International President
I hope this finds you well and in good health.
Last month at RSA, I was numbed by how many attendees were carrying a bug or virus but still walking around coughing, sneezing, shaking hands, hugging, and unfortunately…sharing more than just business contacts.
The flu bug this year is no fun. It seems that a higher number of people have been affected this time around. I think we’ve all experienced the hacking cough that won’t subside, the head cold, the congested sinuses, the numbness in your ears that makes everything sound distant or muffled, and yes, the proverbial running to the restroom. Despite many of us getting a flu shot, we still seem to be infected by some variety of this year’s flu bug, usually mild enough for us to battle on in public and henceforth share our affliction.
The parallels between how we handle the latest developing super strain of human viruses and bugs and the dilemma of how we handle new digital viruses and malware “bugs” that plague our ever-expanding cyber landscape with the latest Internet of Things (IoT) is intriguing.
Think about it. We have companies racing to get out the latest gadget or tech for consumerization. We are finding that the “antibiotics” we have used to treat and provide antivirus and anti-malware protection before don’t seem to apply to the newly developed IoTs, and we are finding that the new strains of viruses are mutating and becoming immune to our current measures. Furthermore, we now realize they can be colonized to attack larger devices. And like a developing child, IoT devices are not able to combat viruses or bugs until their “bodies” learn to differentiate the bad from the good.
So, similar to all those people walking around RSA—outwardly able to function while carrying a virus sometimes without visible symptoms of infection—our smart TVs, personal surveillance cameras, exercise trackers, smart doorbells with video, thermostats that know when our home is occupied, and even security systems; all these new things can still function and efficiently provide consumers with where the nearest place to find the low price diesel fuel is while inwardly hiding a virus or bug, making them a device for spreading a DDoS attack.
Our cyber “antibiotics” need constant revisiting to be effective in providing us protection for the newest strains of cyber flu.
On a sad closing note, Howard A. Schmidt passed away the morning of March 2nd. In speaking with Sandra Lambert, the godmother of ISSA and ISSA Education Foundation Chair, she shared “It is with great sorrow that ISSA and the ISSAEF mourn the loss of our beloved colleague and friend, Howard A. Schmidt. He was a long-time supporter of the ISSAEF, so we were pleased to name one of our scholarships in his honor in 2016, while he was still alive. I spoke to him in late December to congratulate him, and he was truly moved by this tribute to his dedication to cybersecurity education. We encourage you to continue his legacy by contributing to his scholarship. Go to www.ISSAEF.org to donate in his memory."
Many of you knew Howard as a leader, our ISSA president, a fellow member, a giving speaker at many of your local ISSA events, and/or as a mentor. I encourage you to continue his legacy by contributing to the scholarship the Education Foundation has provided to honor him. He may have passed this life, but the impression he made on many of us to give back to a community that has been good to us and his wish to build cybersecurity professionals for the future will not be forgotten.
Moving forward stay healthy and keep virus free,