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5 TED Talks on Information Assurance


Cyber crime is becoming a growing threat to many organizations. As a result, it's now essential for all modern day companies to emphasize the security of their data, especially those that handle large volumes of personal and private data. With the industry expected to continue to grow, there will be an increase in employment opportunities for those interested in a career in information assurance and cyber security. The below TED Talks can help individuals interested in the field learn more about its current state and trends.

Mikko Hypponen – Fighting Viruses, Defending the Net


As the global community continues to become more reliant on computers and the internet, the impact of cyber crime is becoming more critical. Information assurance professionals should strive to understand the value of preparedness when it comes to securing their organization’s networks from increasingly more potent threats. Within this presentation, Mikko Hypponen highlights the evolution of computer viruses and the complex task that information assurance professionals have in protecting their organization.

Starting with the history of malicious code, Hypponen’s TED Talk explains the relevance of computer viruses and how modern cyber security strategies can combat them. The first PC viruses were often created as gags by people looking to annoy other users, causing little concern for information technology teams. Today, computer viruses have become weapons leveraged by a variety of criminals in attacks against banks, companies and governments. Even worse, this plague of online viruses has been exacerbated by a virtual marketplace that incentivizes cyber crime and the development of malicious code. Information assurance professionals should continue to track the expansion of computer viruses and more novel strategies of attacks.

Ralph Langer – Cracking Stuxnet, a 21st Century Cyber Weapon

Modern technology has expanded the playing field for those looking to launch direct attacks on governments, individuals and other infrastructures. Interestingly, the computer program “Stuxnet” initially stumped researchers trying to identify its intended target after they discovered it in 2010. After much research, the consensus was clear that “Stuxnet” was a multi-phase cyber weapon that was developed to knock out industrial computing systems, such as those that run large factories, dams and power plants that are largely responsible for maintaining many vital aspects of society.

Ralph Langer goes into detail describing exactly how experts identified the true purpose behind this “cyber warhead” and what cyber security specialists are doing to pre-empt such crippling attacks. His talk features insight into the potential of “Stuxnet” to instigate disorder and highlights why it was so difficult to identify and investigate this malicious worm. Langer’s talk presents a concise portrayal of cyber attacks at the highest level and can provide valuable insights for cyber crime professionals.

Avi Rubin – All Your Devices Can Be Hacked

Almost everyone has a cellphone, and many rely on a wide array of electronic devices for work and personal use. Wi-Fi is becoming the standard for modern electronic devices, yet the convenience of Wi-Fi also creates some safety concerns. Avi Rubin shares the thought that safely implementing Wi-Fi requires a complete understanding of trustworthy computing.

Modern cars and often even medical devices implement wireless communication technology, creating a gap of vulnerability that attackers can slip into if left unprotected. Through his talk, Rubin provides several examples of how security researchers have exploited these vulnerabilities in controlled tests. The most interesting instance involved security experts who took over a car using radio networks, shocking a room full of cyber security experts who had never seen anything like that before. Rubin makes it clear that hackers are working diligently to discover new ways to manipulate wireless systems. His talk proves to be an important resource for identifying many of the dangers to protect against when focusing on safeguarding the integrity of wireless devices used personal and work purposes.

Keren Elazari – Hackers: The Internet’s Immune System

In her Ted Talk presentation, cyber security expert Keren Elazari examines how positive hackers are helping highlight the increasing threats of cyber crime. For example, while hackers generally cause destruction within the networks they breach, there is a growing trend of hackers leveraging their skills to bring attention to flaws within software used by massive organizations. It’s important to note that these hackers are not stealing information upon hacking into infrastructures and databases, but instead notifying the organization so that they can make adjustments to their network before malicious hackers exploit these same flaws.

Elazari’s TED Talk particularly notes the growth of helpful hackers, such as Palestinian hacker Khalil who uncovered a major vulnerability within Facebook’s privacy infrastructure that provided him almost unlimited access to the Facebook network. Rather than leverage Facebook’s vulnerability for a malicious attack, Khalil tried to notify

Facebook to no avail. Knowing that the flaw would eventually be used for harm, Khalil used the privacy defect to post to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s page, a move that quickly alerted the social media company of the privacy vulnerability. Khalil is just one of the many examples that Elazari uses to highlight how positive hacking can be leveraged to assist organizations in developing more extensive digital infrastructures.

Guy-Philippe Goldstein – How Cyber Attacks Threaten Real-World Peace

In his TED Talk, Guy-Philippe Goldstein uses his idea as a platform to develop public awareness of just how invasive and destructive cyber attacks can be. As an author who specializes in topics related to cyber crime, Goldstein offers a comparison between physical attacks of the past and modern day cyber crime. Just as a well-planned physical or economic attack could stifle the growth of corporate or government organizations, a properly orchestrated cyber attack today can temporarily cripple an organization. This talk adds scope to the validity of cyber weapons as feared assets and offers insight into the changes occurring in the landscape of cyber warfare.

As the digital landscape expands in utility, the number of outlets through which exploiters can take advantage of it grows at a parallel or even faster rate. To help confront this ongoing challenge, the industry will need more cyber security experts to identify and address these threats in order to protect their organization’s infrastructures.

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As the nation’s oldest private military college, Norwich University has been a leader in innovative education since 1819. Through its online programs, Norwich delivers relevant and applicable curricula that allow its students to make a positive impact on their places of work and their communities.

At Norwich University, we extend a tradition of values-based education, where structured, disciplined, and rigorous studies create a challenging and rewarding experience. Online programs, such as the Master of Science in Cybersecurity, have made our comprehensive curriculum available to more students than ever before.

Norwich University has been designated as a Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. Through your program, you can choose from five concentrations that are uniquely designed to provide an in-depth examination of policies, procedures, and overall structure of an information assurance program.

Recommended Readings:
The Evolution of Information Assurance
5 Leadership Tips for Managing an Information Assurance Team
The Importance of Implementing Security Protocol, Practices and Awareness


Mikko Hypponen: Fighting viruses, defending the net, TEDGlobal 2011
Ralph Langer: Cracking Stuxnet, a 21st-century cyber weapon, TED2011
Avi Rubin: All your devices can be hacked, TEDxMidAtlantic
Keren Elazari: Hackers: the Internet’s immune system, TED2014
Guy-Philippe Goldstein: How cyberattacks threaten real-world peace, TEDxParis 2010

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