How do you describe your job to average people?
The work that I do with my team centers around protecting our network and customers. We help customers solve their security problems in a variety of ways. We have made many security features available within the network. In other cases, we manage dedicated security solutions for customers, whether it is on their premises or in one of our hosting centers.
Why did you get into IT security?
I wanted to work in an area where there would always be new challenges. I have a great deal of confidence that there will be new security challenges every step of the way going forward. There are so many threats to deal with. Cyberattacks are increasing not only in volume, but also in sophistication. In my opinion, what we find when solving security problems is far more interesting than the stuff people make up.
What was one of your biggest challenges?
I had to find a way to take billions of event logs and make sense out of them. First, we developed a method to “de-duplicate”. I was able to lean on the great minds down the hall from me in AT&T Labs Research. We leveraged their experience with data compression and mining techniques. We now have the ability to pick the needles out of the haystack, using the equivalent of a security event metal detector.
What keeps you up at night?
Administration of the endpoints. That is the great burden that we all face not only for our enterprises and our customers, but also in our own homes. What is scanned and cleaned, patched and hardened can become vulnerable and compromised overnight. I think that it will stay that way unless we can move to endpoints that are much simpler.
Of what are you most proud?
I am a co-inventor on two U.S. patents.
For what would you use a magic IT security wand?
I would have to start with granting “cyber sense” to all netizens.