Promoting Cyber Security

August 5, 2019


 On July 21st - July 24th 2019, SACIV welcomed four international visitors from Algeria for an IVLP single country program entitled “Promoting Cyber Security." This program was planned to provide participants with the opportunity to examine U.S. cyber security and risk management strategies, to explore the collaborative approach between sector specific agencies, federal agencies, and private sector partners to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, investigate and recover from cyber incidents. 


On Monday, our visitors met with the representative of Lackland Air Force Base (AFB), where they learnt about the Air Force Cyber Command (24th Air Force),  a unit designed for the sole purpose of cybersecurity operations. They also learned more about Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency (25th Air Force). 


This important conversation continued in the meeting with two professors from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Department of Information Systems and Cybersecurity and Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security. These professors presented the programs and ways how they prepare students to be future cybersecurity leaders. During the discussion, our guests heard about a variety of ideas and methods of raising a dynamic team dedicated to infrastructure assurance, research, and education. Some of the visitors were so inspired by the presentations that they wanted to go back to school and refresh their knowledge of such a fast developing cyberspace community.


In the evening, this IVLP group was invited as guests of honor at the SACIV’s Summer Membership Mixer. Our visitors enjoyed meeting members of the San Antonio community and learning more about our culture and values and vice versa.


 On Tuesday morning, the visitors had a valuable meeting with representatives of Frost Bank, Investments and Insurance Department. They learned about the ways and initiative the bank provides its customers to educate them on fraud and identity theft prevention. They met with the bank’s Chief Technology Officer who shared with them her 47 years experience in running the IT department of the bank. During the discussion, Algerian guests shared their challenges in their first steps to encourage the financial sector of Algeria to go digital. And there is still a long way to go in order to build people’s trust.


Later that day, they met with representatives from the Office of Congressman Will Hurd to hear about the policy landscape surrounding cyber security in the US and the bills Congressman Hurd has been involved with in the area of fighting cyber threats and making sure there are available resources to fight those threats.


After lunch, they headed to meet with the private sector representatives of Build Sec Foundation who shared about the long-term incubator which helps founders launch security product startups in Central Texas. Our visitors could learn about their unique cases when they helped several companies to be recognized, tested, and deployed into the market. They also shared their experience in surrounding every startup with necessary resources and networking to excel.


The visit to San Antonio was filled with significant meetings and necessary discussions as Cybersecurity doesn’t have borders or limits, yet every country faces the same questions of when and how to build necessary systems, as well as where you need to draw a fine line between National Security and personal freedom. Every discussion ended up with the same comment “in order to be ahead of cybersecurity attacks and make sure there is security, every entity has to be willing to collaborate and share best practices, experience, and knowledge. That will help to be deliberate and focused in all areas of cyberspace.” #ExchangeMatters


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