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If we can do it for H1N1, why not cybersecurity?

by Juniper Employee on ‎11-03-2011 05:00 AM

As November begins the holiday flurry—which now includes the highest uptick in online shopping for the year—let’s take a moment to reflect on October, National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM).  While I applaud the efforts of the White House and the Department of Homeland Security to promote the occasion, I’m afraid the effort has fallen terribly short. What real improvements have been made to our national ability to be safer in cyberspace?  How many home users, small businesses, or students are better prepared to navigate the dangers of online predators, hackers, and criminals?


Almost two and a half years ago the White House released the results of the President’s Cyberspace Policy Review along with a set of 10 “near term” action items.  Number six on that list stated, “Initiate a national public awareness and education campaign to promote cybersecurity.”  Other than each October’s NCSAM exercise, it’s hard to find evidence of a nationwide, sustained effort to build the awareness and education we need to raise the bar in our fight against ongoing cyber attacks.


To affect real change, our government agencies and industry partners must align for collaborative cybersecurity detection, prevention, mitigation and response. With the proliferation of cyber attacks, identity and intellectual property theft now representing a true cyber epidemic, such an effort is long overdue.


This ain’t hard—once we begin

The good news is that we already have a proven, successful model that provides us with a roadmap for how to proceed—and to enlist all members of our society, because we all have a role.


In 2009, the world reacted to the credible threat of a potential global H1N1 epidemic.  In the United States, awareness and education campaigns demonstrated a coordinated, comprehensive, and committed effort led by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies of the U. S. Government.  State and local governments, academic and nonprofit institutions, and the private sector launched similar efforts.  We all mobilized to protect the American people from the threat of a medical epidemic.


Much of that effort was focused on teaching citizens about best practices to protect themselves from being infected by the H1N1 virus.  We all remember the simple guidance we received every day, at home, in our cars, and everywhere we traveled: wash your hands often; cough into your sleeve not your hand; avoid close contact with others; clean surfaces; stay home if infected and so on.  


It strikes me that, with very little translation required, these ‘stay safe’ messages are also precisely what’s needed to build awareness and use of simple, but effective ‘cyber hygiene’ practices. Condensed into a short series of ‘Top Cybersecurity Tips,’ these practices could populate a comprehensive and sustained campaign to teach citizens, small business, schools, and other institutions about how to protect themselves from the very dangerous and pervasive threats in cyberspace.


Cyber hygiene

The National Security Agency estimates that 80 percent of the exploitable vulnerabilities on government computers can be thwarted by basic cyber hygiene—simple steps that we all can implement to protect ourselves, and make it more difficult for the bad guys.[1]  Such efforts do not require large investments or IT staff. Some studies have found that a small percentage of data breaches would have required difficult or expensive preventive measures.[2]


For starters, here are some basic cybersecurity hygiene tips:

  • Keep your security software (firewalls, anti-virus/spyware) and operating system up-to-date
  • Protect your personal information online; change your password periodically
  • Scan your computer for vulnerabilities on a regular basis
  • Don’t open attachments from untrusted sources
  • Secure your mobile phone, too (including secure access to your corporate files)
  • Backup your data regularly
  • Learn what to do if something goes wrong, or if you encounter suspicious activity


Sounds simple, right?  Well, it is—once you know what to do, and are regularly reminded to do it, at a time and place where you can act.  Hence the need for a national, sustained campaign, led by the White House and the Department of Homeland Security, joined by all federal departments and agencies—especially those with high levels of direct citizen or business interactions (e.g., the Postal Service, Small Business Administration, Internal Revenue Service, etc.). 


We all have a stake in our global cyber security.  In addition to the leadership role of the federal government, an effort of this magnitude will also require the involvement of industry and state and local government leaders at all levels, as well as higher-ed and K-12 academic organizations, Internet service providers, and a broad range of other partners and stakeholders in the public and private sectors.  Some nonprofit organizations, such as the National Cyber Security Alliance, Center for Internet Security, and Internet Security Alliance are already involved—but we need more.


Our nation is facing a crisis of epidemic proportions.  I don’t profess to claim that national awareness and prevention campaigns can alone solve our cybersecurity challenges, but—as with the H1N1 virus experience—we  do need a comprehensive and sustained national education and awareness effort to help us all understand how to better protect ourselves as we use and enjoy the many benefits of cyberspace.  



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About the Author
  • Prior to Juniper acquisition, Ankur was the Founder and CEO of Contrail Systems Inc - a pioneer in standards based network virtualization and scale-out networking software. Ankur has over 15 years of experience in building world-class networking products and leading high performance teams. Prior to Contrail, Ankur served as Chief Technology Officer and VP of Engineering at Aruba Networks, where he played critical roles in the rapid expansion of team, products, and global businesses. Before Aruba, Ankur helped drive Juniper’s initial entry into and expansion of the Ethernet Switching market. Ankur received his MSEE from Stanford University & BSEE from the University of Southern California.
  • I am an experienced leader in the Information Experience (iX) industry. For over 20 years, I've led information organizations at Juniper, Microsoft, Cisco, and Oracle to deliver quality technical documentation and information products to customers and partners across the globe.
  • Bob Dix currently serves as the Vice President of Government Affairs & Critical Infrastructure Protection for Juniper Networks. During his career, he has served in senior leadership roles in industry and government, including serving as Staff Director for the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census during the 108th Congress. He represents Juniper on the Industry Executive Point of Contact for the President's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee ( NSTAC ), where he chaired the Cybersecurity Collaboration Task Force in 2009. He served as Chair of the Information Technology Sector Coordinating Council ( IT SCC ) from 2008 – 2010 and currently remains a member of the Executive Committee. Mr. Dix was elected in May, 2011 as Chair of the Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security ( PCIS ). He also serves on the National Security Task Force for the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the AFCEA Cyber Security Committee and Chairs the Supply Chain Assurance Subcommittee for TechAmerica. Additionally, Dix has actively worked to insure and coordinate private sector participation and collaboration with the National Exercise Program, intended to test our nation’s preparedness and resiliency. He served as Chair of the National Private Sector Working Group for National Level Exercise 2011 and 2010. In 2007 and 2009, Dix was honored with a prestigious Federal 100 Award, and was recognized in March, 2010 as the recipient of the annual FCW Industry Eagle Award. Dix also served as a local government elected official in Northern Virginia for 12 years and in his spare time coaches AAU/Travel girls basketball.
  • Jennifer Blatnik is vice president of cloud, security and enterprise portfolio marketing at Juniper Networks with focus on enterprise deployments of security, routing, switching, and SDN products, as well as cloud solutions. She has more than 20 years of experience helping enterprises solve network security challenges. Before joining Juniper, Jennifer served multiple roles at Cisco Systems, Inc., including directing product management for security technologies aimed at small to medium enterprises, as well as supporting managed services, cloud service architectures and go-to-market strategies. She holds a B.A. in Computer Science from University of California, Berkeley.
  • Jerry oversees all aspects of OpenLab which serves as a catalyst to spark the development of new innovative software applications or solutions that leverage the power of SDN/network programmability and intelligence. OpenLab is unique within Juniper and with its polished facility, globally accessible lab, and educational programs – such as the SDN “hackathons,” it serves as a tool for customer, partners, and academia. Prior to this position, Jerry led the development, management and marketing of the company’s strategic partnerships for video/unified communications, optical networking, and content/media delivery. In addition to handling the day-to-day oversight of the partnerships, he established new cross-partner go-to-market processes to drive and manage joint field opportunities. Before joining Juniper, Jerry led the Lucent Technologies application hosting/service provider marketing organization. He has over 25 years of experience in the data networking field with a focus on strategic alliance development, marketing, and technical field support. Jerry possesses a BS degree in Computer Science from St. John’s University in New York. He is active as a Juniper ambassador within the technology and academic community which includes advisory board positions with both NJIT and Rutgers in New Jersey.
  • Kevin Walker is the Security Chief Technology and Strategy Officer for Juniper’s Development and Innovation (JDI) organization. He is responsible for driving the security strategy both internally within Juniper, and externally with investors, partners, influencers, and customers. He provides the guidance required for JDI to conceive, develop and create momentum for industry-leading security solutions. Working closely with the Security Engineering team, Walker identifies the opportunities for improved security, growth, and innovation to deliver the scalable, reliable, and compliant security architecture needed in today’s security landscape. Before joining Juniper, Walker was VP and Assistant Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at He has served as a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Chief Security Strategist and Director of Information Security across a number of notable companies including Intuit, Cisco, Symantec and VERITAS Software. With over twenty-five years in various computer science and information technology disciplines, focusing on enterprise applications, network design, and information security, Walker possesses research and engineering expertise across of range of technologies including networking protocols, securing applications at the atomic level, cryptography, and speech biometrics.
  • As Juniper’s Senior Vice President of Strategy and Product Line Management, Kevin Hutchins is responsible for defining and enabling Juniper’s strategy from company vision into product execution. This includes driving the company’s inorganic growth through strategic partnerships, venture investments and acquisitions/divestitures. In addition, he is responsible for driving key strategic imperatives, including Juniper’s software strategy and transformation. Hutchins joined Juniper in 2010 as Vice President, Portfolio Management & Business Operations for Juniper’s Development & Innovation team where he led business planning, portfolio rationalization, new product introduction and execution of strategic programs across Juniper’s portfolio of routing, switching and security products.
  • Mike Marcellin is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, leading the global marketing team responsible for marketing Juniper’s product and services portfolio and stewarding the brand, driving preference for Juniper in the market, training our partners and account teams, and developing a differentiated information experience for our customers. Before joining the global marketing organization, Marcellin led business strategy and marketing for Juniper’s industry-leading portfolio of high-performance routing, switching and security products. Prior to joining Juniper in 2010, Marcellin served as Vice President of Global Managed Solutions for Verizon, where he oversaw product development and marketing of its managed IP networking, hosting, security and IT solutions for businesses around the world. He also served as Vice President of Global Product Marketing for Verizon Business, executive director of Verizon Business’ IP and Ethernet portfolio as well as leading the company’s eCRM marketing division. Marcellin began his career with MCI in 1994. Marcellin is a Board Member for the Telecommunications Industry Association and a Board Member of US Ignite, an NSF-sponsored initiative. Marcellin holds two patents and was a Rodman Scholar at the University of Virginia, where he received a bachelor of science degree with distinction in systems engineering. He is based in Sunnyvale, California.
  • Masum Mir is Vice President of Product, Solutions & Technical Marketing at Juniper Networks. Masum is responsible for the Switching product line, network management product line and optical technologies. Beside product leadership Masum also leads cloud strategy and solution architecture. Masum has 19 years of experience in communication and data networking industry with Expertise in Ethernet Switching, Data Center, Carrier Ethernet, Routing, overlay & network segmentation, Fabric technology & photonics technology.
  • Paul Obsitnik is Vice President of Service Provider Marketing for Juniper Networks Platform Systems Division (PSD), responsible for the marketing of Juniper’s portfolio of high performance routing, switching, and data center fabric products to Service Providers globally. Paul's team is responsible for marketing strategy, product marketing, go-to-market planning, and competitive analysis worldwide for the Service Provider segment. Obsitnik has extensive experience in marketing, sales and business development positions with a proven track record in creating technology markets. He has served in senior marketing and sales management positions at several companies including BridgeWave Communications, ONI Systems, NorthPoint Communications and 3Com. Paul holds a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Electrical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. Obsitnik is based in Sunnyvale, California.
  • Pradeep Sindhu founded Juniper Networks in February 1996, and has held several central roles in shaping the company. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer, and is responsible for the company's technical roadmap as well as day-to-day design and development of future products. He served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for eight months when he founded the company. During that time, he played a central role in the architecture, design, and development of the M40 router.
  • Rami Rahim is Chief Executive Officer of Juniper Networks and a member of the company’s Board of Directors. Rahim was appointed CEO in November 2014. Rahim began his Juniper career in early 1997, as employee No. 32, and worked as an engineer on Juniper’s first breakthrough product, the M40 core router. Rahim has progressed through a series of technical and leadership roles at Juniper, applying his engineering acumen to the design and development of Juniper’s industry-leading product portfolio. He most recently served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Juniper Development and Innovation (JDI) organization, overseeing the company’s entire product and technology portfolio. His responsibilities included driving strategy, development and business growth for routing, switching, security, silicon technology, and the Junos operating system. Other leadership positions held over the years include: Executive Vice President and General Manager of Platform Systems Division for routing and switching, Senior Vice President of the Edge and Aggregation Business Unit (EABU), and Vice President and General Manager of EABU.
  • As Chief Customer Officer, Vince Molinaro is responsible for driving the strategic and operational elements of the Sales, Marketing, Partners, Services and Support functions at Juniper Networks. He leads a global organization of more than 3,500 professionals that includes direct and indirect sales, systems engineering, advanced technologies and field operations. Molinaro brings more than 25 years of professional experience in engineering, product management, marketing, sales and operations to his worldwide role. He joined Juniper in 2009 and led the strategy and go-to-market execution for the company’s global service provider business. He was named EVP, Worldwide Sales in 2013 before assuming his current role in February 2014. Prior to joining Juniper, Molinaro held senior leadership positions at a number of technology companies including Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, Alcatel-Lucent and Internap Network Services. He has extensive domestic and international experience having lived and managed large organizations throughout Europe and the U.S. Molinaro holds a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering from Boston University and a master of science degree in electrical engineering from University of Bridgeport. He is based out of the Juniper Networks facility in New Jersey, home of OpenLab, The Junos and SDN Center for Innovation.
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