On Aug 26, 2021, odix CEO Dr. Oren Eytan was joined by Vic Malloy of the University of Texas at San Antonio to speak about Cyber education and their collective experience ‘from Digital Immigrants to Digital Natives.’  We’ll highlight some of the most interesting points below.

When did the cultural shift occur from digital immigrants to digital natives?

Vic Malloy:

“In about 2001-1999, I call that the digital divide between the digital immigrants and digital natives. We were talking about information assurance. So some visionaries, Joe Sanchez, and others said, you know, we’ve got this University here in San Antonio, University Texas systems, you know, what can we do to bring in academic rigor to solidify our practices for infrastructure, assurance, cybersecurity, are our systems security at that time information technology, you know, we need a program of study.

And so eventually, fast forward to where we are right now. The University of Texas, San Antonio is one of maybe five universities, that is a center of academic excellence, certified by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security, and five subject matter areas, dealing with cyber proficiency, and competency to not only give you a certification, but to really dig deep into researching how to address, the threats that are in our landscape, how to address even now, when we’re looking forward, advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, and how do we take data science, and then apply that to where we’ve been in the past with information assurance, cyber security, and look at the complexity of all the operating systems that are out there.

Because we know that with every new operating system, there are multiple lines of code that are being involved with that. And with every line of code, there is a chance of a vulnerability being exploited. So how can we use artificial intelligence? How can we use machine learning how can we research and look forward to making the environment much more secure than what it is today.”

Could you explain the relationship and the balance of responsibilities between the University System training young professionals and private enterprise and startups and cybersecurity companies?

Oren Eytan:

“Israel is, different from the entire world. Because in Israel, it turned out that the best education and the best school for cybersecurity is the Israeli army. And these were defense forces, because at the age of 18, in Israel, everyone is obligated to serve military service. And, these guys coming from high school, most of them go directly from their military term and then go to the university. This, it turned out, results in very good cyber education however the approach and thinking are different than those trained first in the university or academy system.

In practice, these young cyber warriors can do everything you tell them to do and you know, they can penetrate everything that’s moving, and they can do whatever you’d like to do. But when deeming about a wide vision, when you’re dealing about understanding the real basics and the sources of everything, and really the task of the academy and the university is to teach you how to think and to provide you the tools that we’ll be able to do will be able you to think better, understand better and operate better.”

What do you think the role of universities in cyber education should be?

Vic Malloy:

“I think it’s a challenge for universities because they, they can be so large, that a lot of students get lost in the crowd. What a university should do is tailor itself, such that the skills of this, the needs of the learner are tuned in. So if that person can’t identify what they are designed to be deployed to do, you are not designed to be deployed to be a cog in a wheel. And I think some of our learners think that that’s why they’re going to school is to get the sheepskin to show that they have gone through a program of study. So they can go into a corporation, just to be a cog.

Know, you are designed to find a way that you can deploy your gifts and talents. So that you can go into in some cases, a corporation or a small enterprise or a large enterprise, to hone your skills and define your craft, so that you can then deploy yourself to either be an entrepreneur, or a facilitator and create new opportunities and new directions.”

What do you think the role of the private sector in cybersecurity startups should be taking in pushing cybersecurity education for both their employees, but also for the broader public?

Oren Eytan:

“I think three things are important when you’re talking about cyber education, and this is awareness, awareness, and awareness. This is a, this is the key. And if you start from low, from elementary school to high school, and you start this with little boys and girls, make them understand, let them understand the benefits of networking, lets them understand the benefits of you know, internet, but on the other hand, start to educate them that there’s also a risk in that and you need to show them, you need to give them real examples, how things happen. So because, sometimes stories, you know, it’s hard to believe some of them like science fiction, they said, okay, how did they manage to penetrate this and how they did this. So, I think the key of education is for awareness for understanding the root cause of how the hackers are thinking, how they penetrate, and how we find their path into the network.”