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Homeland Security Official Talks Cyber Security In Pensacola

Bob Barrett

It was a full day of hands on training and networking on Pensacola Beach today at The I-TEN Wired Summit.

The keynote speaker at lunch was Brigadier general Gregory Touhill, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber-security Operations within the Department of Homeland Security. After his address he spoke with WUWF's Bob Barrett about homeland security beginning with home TOWN security. He said that was one of many messages to take from today's summit. A broader message would be that cybersecurity is a shared risk that all of us need to be aware of.

Cybersecurity is a field that has been important going back many years. The government has always been in the business of protecting important and sensitive data, but 20 years ago that data was on paper. Now it's all digitized and they are using some of the same methods of protecting physical data in the cyber field.

In his keynote address, General Touhill used the term "cyber hygiene". He says it's a term used by not only government but also industry and academia and describes methods everyone can and should be using to protect their information, like using complex passwords and changing them often.

The general also talked about some of the security issues with the cloud, saying it's a technology that has been developing over the years and just got that new name. He says the security issues with the cloud are the same as any other vector that connects computers with each other.

General Touhill also praised the work in cybersecurity being done by the University of West Florida...and he specifically mentioned the partnership between UWF and the Escambia County School District. He says we should educate not only our young people but also our elders in the importance of cybersecurity.

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.
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