Scott Blough, you have been selected for this week’s #TiffinTuesdays for your work in cyber security as well as your role in bringing the upcoming Maritime Risk Symposium to Tiffin University.
Could you start out by sharing why cybersecurity is so important to the people of our country?
Cyber security is important to everyone. Almost 90% of the United States’ population is connected to the internet, and when you are connected, you are vulnerable. It is vital that people understand the basics of cyber hygiene, like limiting the personal information you put online, using strong passwords and limiting public Wi-Fi use.
Next month TU will be hosting the 8th Annual Maritime Risk Symposium. Can you tell us about this event?
MRS 2017 will bring together local, state, and federal authorities, academics and industry to discuss the threats and challenges to maritime cyber security and the marine transportation system. With a focus on the articulation of current and future maritime cyber challenges and threats, the Symposium will outline the implementation and operationalization of a sound maritime cyber strategy. The Symposium will assess threats, vulnerabilities and recent advancements in both attack vectors and maritime cyber security research to inspire ideas for innovative research that will define the next generation of maritime cyber space.
Who will be attending the event?
The MRS 2017 will feature some of the world’s thought leaders in maritime cyber security. There will be current and former Flag Officers from the United States Coast Guard and United States Air Force, four DHS Homeland Security Center of Excellence Directors, and representative from six of the Department of Defense National Labs. In addition, there will be significant academic, private sector and industry representation, as well as students from various universities and service academies. The significance of the Symposium is that operators get to interact with researchers to solve operational issues.
Why is TU hosting the symposium?
It is truly an honor to be hosting the 8th Annual Maritime Risk Symposium: Cyber Security in the Maritime Transportation System at Tiffin University. Traditionally hosted at much larger institutions, such as the University of Southern California, University of North Carolina, Rutgers and Purdue, Tiffin University was chosen because of the strength of our academic programs in cyber defense and digital forensics, as well as the work of our Center for Cyber Defense & Forensics. Tiffin’s focus on the interdisciplinary aspect of cyber security also played a key role in the decision to host MRS 2017. Our academic approach to cyber security is unique due to the focus on what we call “the security mindset,” which means that our students understand the total security environment, not just the technical piece.
Why should students be interested that TU is hosting the Maritime Risk Symposium?
Students will benefit from networking with over 125 cyber and maritime professionals. They will be able to witness the creation of an exceptional research agenda for cyber security in the maritime system over the next decade. In fact, they can help create that agenda!
Can students be involved with the event?
There are several ways that students can be involved in the Symposium. Students can participate in the Student Poster Session, which will be held on Monday, November 13 at 5:30 p.m. They can also register to attend, but only if they request an invitation. Students can also attend a panel that interests them as well.
Is TU at any kind of risk because of the Maritime Risk Symposium?
The Maritime Risk Symposium is an unclassified event, so there is not any risk associated with it. We will publish a Summary of Proceedings in July that will be available to the public.
Tell us about your position at TU.
I am the executive director of the Center for Cyber Defense & Forensics at Tiffin University, as well as an associate professor in the School of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences. As the executive director, I oversee internal Center activities and manage the cyber lab network. As part of my duties, I am the national co-chair for the Maritime Risk Symposium, I’m also involved in the larger cyber security community in organizations such as the Ohio Cyber Collaboration Committee (OC3), where I chair the governance subcommittee, and the Maritime and Port Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (MPS-ISAO), located at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where I serve as a strategic advisor. I’m also involved in a variety of activities that highlight the Center and Tiffin University to the larger cyber security community, which include speaking engagements, conference presentations, industry meetings and InfraGard.
What is your background in cybersecurity?
I have been involved with cyber security since the mid-1990s when I implemented the National Incident Based Reporting System on a new network at the Marion, Ohio, Police Department. I wrote the initial security policies for the information sharing initiative that is now known as the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway. I was a charter member of the Ohio Criminal Justice Information Systems committee that was charged with developing data standards for criminal justice information systems as well. One of the key things that helped me grow in the cybersecurity field was my investigative background in financial fraud, which trained me to understand business processes and look for weak links in policy, process, and most importantly, practice. I have consulted on digital forensics investigations and am an expert witness on digital forensic evidence practices. I continue to consult on cybersecurity and cybercrime, as well as develop new processes and technologies for cybersecurity. My educational background of Business Administration (BBA), Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ) and International Security (PhD/ABD) has served me well in understanding how and why things and people do what they do as well!