Questions for Rob Housman, executive director, Cyber Secure Institute

You probably haven't been reading SC Magazine for 20 years, but in the years that you have, what about the publication do you most enjoy? 

"I like the depth of coverage in an area that typically gets short shrift. I like that fact that there is a publication that focuses solely on what I believe are the greatest challenges we face for the foreseeable future."

When you think of the last 20 years in the information security space, what groundbreaking events come to mind that have shaped where we are today? 

"Oddly, the movie War Games first comes to mind. I see this as the first time that the public at large had any sense of both the importance of these cybersystems and their enormous inherent vulnerabilities. Another major event that I think we will look back upon has been the recent incidences of cyberwarfare, in specific the Russian attacks on Estonia and Georgia. I see this as the start of a whole new era of military conflict — akin to how the gun changed the world."

What is most different about the industry or your job duties now compared to when you first started? 

"I've always been 'policy focused.' The only difference now is that I find myself increasingly pulled in to more technical issues in order to work policy challenges. So I'm having to learn technical aspects."

Give us your boldest prediction for the next 20 years. Threats? Compliance? Technologies? 

"In 20 years integrated technologies — from biometrics to secure operating systems — will make the hacks of today nonissues. Within this same timeframe the United States will suffer at least one if not more major cyberattacks, attacks that will cost our nation billions of dollars and fundamental put at risk at least one or more elements of our society/economy. It will make 9-11 look minor."

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