Cipher Issue 161, May 31, 2021, Editor's Letter

Dear Readers,

Another sterling edition of the Security and Privacy Symposium has come and gone. The virtual event featured over a hundred great research papers and over 1200 registrants from around the world. I had the pleasure of meeting a first-time attendee from India via the "meeting new people" random matching feature of the virtual platform, and that was a very positive experience. I hope the event will be a hybrid one next year. For example, I would have been unable to attend in-person this year irrespective of COVID-19, but I greatly enjoyed being a remote attendee.

Many of the news items selected for this issue are about ransomware attacks, especially the one that shut down an oil distribution pipeline in the eastern US. They had been advertising for a high-level cybersecurity position at the time they were hit. I also read an article about the huge number of cybersecurity positions in the US that cannot be filled. When I got started in this field, I hardly imagined that in 2021 that we would be trying to throw more and more people at the problem. Does that make sense? Maybe there's something wrong with the way computer systems are paid for and insured.

I predict that the next issue of Cipher will be similarly filled with ransomware stories, but don't let that spoil a marvelous, vaccinated summer!

Jack and Jill went up the hill,
To fetch a pail of water.
But when they got there,
The pipeline was bare
Due to ransomware.
Jack and Jill went back to school
And trained as cyber warriors.
Now they spend their days
Watching screen arrays
And drinking bottled water.

      Hilarie Orman