Paul's Blog

THOUGHTS ON CYBER WARFARE

DEFCON 18 – Why you should have been there!

DEFCON continues to surpass expectations. In a sea of hackers, feds and goons you can always find what you are looking for: the latest exploits, a great presentation, old friends, new friends, business opportunities and networking, TONS of networking! No matter who you are in the industry, DEFCON is a must go conference. This year I had the pleasure to meet many CSFI members during the event, and I also had the opportunity to invite other professionals to join our forum and become part of what we do.
I would like to thank our CSFI-CWD (Cyber Warfare Division) manager Mr. Mark Coffin http://de.linkedin.com/pub/mark-coffin/0/332/416  for making the effort to fly all the way from Germany to be in Vegas to attend this conference. I was very fortunate to have spent some time with Mark and talk about topics we are very passionate about. Mark’s service to our nation and his contribution to our security community are much appreciated. I have not met too many people who can network like Mark and reach out to all levels within our security community; he is indeed an example to other cyber commanders.

Mark played the game “spot the fed”; his participation was very clever! It was a treat to see Mark be such a good sport and help the DEFCON crowd have a good time with such a traditional DEFCON game.

I had the opportunity to have breakfast with Jeff Carr and listen to his panel at DEFCON. As always, Jeff impresses me with his well thought out and cautious answers on cyber warfare topics.

I was also grateful to have met Jeff Moss (The Dark Tangent) and spend some time talking security with him; thank you Mark and Priest for making that possible! I have no doubt in my mind of Jeff’s ability to fulfill his role in the Homeland Security Advisory Council of the Barack Obama administration.
 
I spent some pleasant time meeting with Steve Thomas (CSFI’s application security specialist/Web Master) http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-thomas/4/587/7a5 and going over CSFI’s technical matters.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to chat with some old friends and CSFI members: Marcus H. Sachs http://www.linkedin.com/in/marcsachs, John Bumgarner http://www.linkedin.com/in/bumgarner, Jason E. Street, Steven Fox http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steven-fox-cissp/0/251/3a1, Iftach (Ian) Amit http://il.linkedin.com/in/iamit, Joe Mccray http://www.linkedin.com/in/joemccray, Brian Baskin http://www.linkedin.com/in/brianbaskin, Steven DeFino http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steven-defino/6/16/94b, James Murray (Boeing), Clint Laskowski http://www.linkedin.com/in/claskowski, Jeniffer Kyle http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jennifer-kyle-cissp-c-eh/1/b36/a83, Nicole Tatrow http://www.linkedin.com/in/nicoletatrow and many others!

Some new and interesting people I had the opportunity to network with: Steve Topletz (Xerobank), Keren Elazari (very sharp lady from Tel Aviv dedicated to the study of cyber terrorism), Christopher Campbell (Northop Grumman), Lawrence Wolfenden (FBI), Jeremy Brown (Tenable), and the list goes on and on…so, if you have not made up your mind yet about attending DEFCON, I would recommend you be there next year, and look for me in the crowd! As security professionals we have the responsibility to reach out, educate, inspire, and help our peers grow in knowledge and empower them to fulfill their missions.

Some of my favorite presentations were:

Meet the feds: CSI:TCP/IP (great opportunity to interact with the feds from several agencies and talk cyber!)

Of bytes and bullets (panel with Jeff Carr)

Exploiting SCADA systems (Jeremy Brown did a good job showing some of his SCADA exploit work)

Kim Jong-Il and me: How to build a cyber army to defeat the US (Charlie Miller is ex-NSA. This presentation, in my opinion, is a must read for anyone trying to understand how countries (or rogue nations) can build cyber capabilities. Charlie’s presentation had a lot of humor, but do not be fooled, the research he has done on the subject and how he broke the process down is just terrific!

An examination of the adequacy of the laws related to cyber warfare by our CSFI member Dondi West. Dondi posted discussions on CSFI looking for opinions and views on the subject. I am glad CSFI was able to contribute to his presentation.

In summary, DEFCON is a conference of value and a place where you can remain updated on the latest threats. You will most likely run out of business cards and make great long lasting connections. It feels like family.

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Career Thoughts

I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to manage and run one of the biggest and most active forums on the Internet dealing with cyber warfare and cyber security – CSFI (The Cyber Security Forum Initiative). With over 16 years of cyber security experience, I continue to actively raise Cyber Warfare/Cyber Security awareness worldwide. I have worked as a Chief Security Engineer for AT&T, where I designed and approved secure networks for MSS. I have also consulted for several governments, military and private institutions on best network security practices throughout my career.

CSFI and its divisions CSFI-CWD (Cyber Warfare Division), CSFI-LPD (Law and Policy Division) and CSFI-WD (Wireless Division) continue to grow and expand with more than 60,000 information security members.

One of my personal goals is to serve our security community to the best of my abilities, in the protection and defense of our American national security interests, the American people, and that of our international partners. I am always ready to serve and to give of my time and skills to help our society with the growing problems we experience in cyberspace. I thank God and my family for the opportunities I have had in life and the most precious of all opportunities, which is the chance to serve others. I love what I do, and I appreciate all the support I have received from friends, family and our CSFI members.

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Paul de Souza, CSFI Founder Director

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