Campus & Community

Stevens Hosts AT&T Mobile Security Show

Recently the Babbio Atrium was transformed from its usual bustling hub for students into an eye-catching, high tech television studio. Lights, cameras, television screens and an attentive, eager live audience completed the scene.

The AT&T Mobile Security Show, hosted by the AT&T Tech Channel, moved into Babbio for a night, and the energy was high as people looked forward to the panel discussions set to take place. Stevens, recognized as a hub of computer science and engineering student activity was a perfect setting for the live event and webcast.

A live band entertained the guests as everyone took their seats – and the hosts and panelists stood off to the side, awaiting their introductions. As the show began, the hosts for the evening were introduced. Veronica Belmont, a technology video host, avid gamer, and social networking junkie, co-hosts’s Tekzilla, writes for various technology publications and serves as an advisor for several renowned companies. Her partner for the show, Dino Dai Zovi, is an information security professional and researcher. He has co-authored two books on software security and is well-known for winning the first PWN20WN contest in 2007.

Both Dino and Veronica have an authentic interest and depth of knowledge in technology. Belmont opened the show by welcoming everyone: “We have a great audience tonight full of Stevens Institute of Technology students, staff and faculty, in addition to members of the tech community around the NY metropolitan area.”

Throughout the evening, Belmont and Dai Zovi added their insight and experience to the panels, sharing thoughts and banter with the panelists and audience.

The event consisted of two panels: Securing the Emerging App Ecosystem and Securing Enterprise Use of Personal Devices. Differences between the individual and the enterprise was a theme that was woven throughout both panels.

Edward Amoroso, SVP & Chief Security Officer for AT&T, led an all-star roster of security and technology professionals. In addition to his role at AT&T, Dr. Amoroso has been teaching at Stevens – where he received his MS and his Ph.D. – for 20 years.

“We live in a mobile-obsessed world where security considerations touch everyone from business to consumers. Academia has an opportunity to teach the surrounding community about the importance of mobile security as well as to educate and encourage the next generation of researchers and scientists who understand this environment.  AT&T has hired over a dozen PhDs to research potential threats in mobile security – most of whom were hired after finishing their dissertations in a computer science discipline,”said Amoroso.

Amoroso’s fellow panelists for the evening included:
•    Charles Crouchman, SVP Product & Delivery, Mformation
•    Stephen Fried, Author: “Mobile Device Security”
•    Robert Griffin, Chief Security Architect, RSA
•    Dan Hoffman, Chief Mobile Security Evangelist, Juniper Networks
•    James Lewis, Director Technology & Public Policy Program, CSIS
•    Christine Liebert, Senior Analyst Security Services, IDC

The hosts threw out questions relating to control of apps, benefits of using an open app ecosystem, how many mobile apps are being downloaded each year and who is accountable for all of this activity and subsequent security issues.

Their knowledge and expertise was evident as they often talked over each other, clamoring to provide useful, insightful information. Each of the panelists provided their unique views with passion and enthusiasm for the topics and issues presented.

The group was able to offer perspective from all stakeholders involved in these issues, including IT departments, app creators/providers, service providers and device manufacturers. Often, the panel discussed, people aren’t sure where to go for help, and each of those groups has their own interests in mind. The idea of creating a consortium of all the players to determine a standard is one way the panelists suggest addressing these needs.

“Mobile Security is a hot issue right now,” Liebert asserted. “The challenge is to allow efficiency and ease for the user, but ensuring overall security at the same time.”

Each panel concluded with the hosts inviting questions from the audience and final thoughts from the panelists.

Questions from the audience complemented and rounded out each session, probing deeper into the issues discussed. People were very interested in learning more about how to protect proactively and be preventative ahead of time as opposed to just addressing security issues after the fact. The audience wanted more insight from the experts on how to monitor and avoid issues in the first place.

A group of students attended the event as part of a class assignment. Tom Zinckgraf, a senior who will receive his BS in Computer Science and MS in Math in May, is taking Intro to IT Security with Professor Suzanne Wetzel this semester, and she urged her students to attend the panels.

“Given that we’re living in a tech prevalent age, receiving data from all these different sources, it’s interesting to learn how to protect ourselves,” Tom stated. “All these things point to the need to create one universal standard.”