TED Talks are excellent resources if you want to learn from an expert and spark your curiosity. Although they’re available on almost any subject imaginable, these speakers and their talks are among the best concerning cybersecurity.
Keren Elazari is an Israel-born independent cybersecurity researcher who has had work featured on CNN, Wired and more.
In addition to the nearly two decades of insights she’s given to security firms, organizations and Fortune 500 companies, Elazari has authored books related to her knowledge.
In her TED Talk, Elazari opens by saying she thinks the internet needs hackers, because without the ethical ones who find vulnerabilities and make them public — a practice known in the hacker community as “full disclosure” — people wouldn’t be sufficiently motivated to fix those identified issues.
She continues by clarifying that hackers have significant power because of the capabilities at their fingertips and should use it responsibly.
Another point Elazari raises is that hackers can bring people together to raise collective awareness about issues. She uses Anonymous as an example in the talk for that first point, then brings up how even major companies have a complex relationship with hackers and sometimes don’t appreciate them, even when they bring flaws to light.
She ends by emphasizing how hackers have positively impacted innovation, civil liberties and internet freedoms because they can’t ignore the problems they find — they must either fix them or exploit them.
This TED Talk may make you think a little differently about hackers than you have in the past.
As a cybersecurity researcher specializing in embedded systems reverse engineering, the manipulation of electronic devices and vulnerability analysis, Chris Domas works at the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, OH.
Domas graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in computer science and joined the Battelle team soon afterward. Due to the high quality of his work in 2013, he received the organization’s Emerging Scientist Award and Technical Achievement Award.
In his TED Talk, Domas provides the audience with details about how pattern recognition and reverse engineering help cybersecurity researchers discover things about pieces of binary code. He opens by explaining what binary code is, how it relates to computers and why it broadened his understanding of cybersecurity.
He points out we’re in an age of cyberwarfare and that requires not only defending things in the online realm but, sometimes, knowing how to attack the world’s evildoers. To emphasize his point, Domas uses the example of a terrorist who wants to use their mobile phone as a remote detonator.
The talk continues by addressing the painstaking but worthwhile task of figuring out how to translate binary information into visual representations so our brains can understand them. Then, it becomes significantly simpler to recognize patterns within binary information.
Beyond the analysis of visual representations of binary code, the next step is to look for similar pieces of information. By using elimination, it becomes possible to find the desired pieces of code, then finally understand how they work with each other. This entire process can happen in a matter of hours, when it would have previously taken months.
This talk fills you in on the often complicated ways cybersecurity experts work to achieve their goals, so it deserves less than 20 minutes of your time.
One thing cybersecurity researcher James Lyne is passionate about is making the topics in the field accessible. He’s the founder of cybersecurity research firm Helical Levity, head of research and development at SANS Institute and a global research adviser at Sophos.
His TED Talk reminds people of the typical online activities they perform without second thought, often putting them at risk for attacks by cybercriminals.
He warns that, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of new individual computer viruses that emerge by the day, cybercriminals have made business enterprises out of their dirty deeds, such as by offering services that allow a client to take down a competitor’s site.
Lyne demonstrates how easy it is for criminals to insert malware code on a website and sometimes even make it look like something innocent and supposedly helpful, such as anti-virus software. He talks about the creation of fake public Wi-Fi networks and goes over some other ways cybercriminals can quickly take advantage of people.
Lyne concludes by saying we need to keep adding to the cybersecurity talent pool by ensuring graduates have the information they need to understand new types of malware. He also urges everyone to learn best practices against cybercrime and implement them for self-protection purposes.
His easy-to-understand content reveals the specifics on an essential topic in today’s heavily connected world.
Kayla Matthews is a productivity and technology journalist with interests in big data, cybersecurity, IoT and other technologies. Aside from her tech blog, Productivity Bytes, you can read more of her work on CloudTweaks, Malwarebytes and IT Security Guru.