Alumnus wins prestigious Carnegie Endowment fellowship to research cybersecurity | FIU News
“Strategy without strategy is noise before defeat.” The enduring words of Sun Tzu a The art of war it applies more than to battle. They are also true in cybersecurity.
In defending cybersecurity, countries need more than expert coders. They need specialists in cyberpolitics and cyber strategies.
This is the growing area where Gerald Torres ’21 works.
An honorary college graduate with a rare combination of cybersecurity and international relations experience, Torres heads to Washington DC in August to participate in the technology and international affairs sector of the prestigious James C. Gaither Junior Fellows Program at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
As the first Gaither Junior Fellow of FIU, he will investigate how the world can become a more cybersecurity place.
“Congress and the government are trying to make everyone think more confidently,” says Torres, who remembers well from Edward Snowden’s leaking how data privacy can be easily avoided if cyber policies are not strong. “I want to be able to help.”
The interests of cybersecurity are huge. In addition to data privacy, supply chains and many choices depend on cybersecurity. Thus, the demand for jobs in the field has exploded. Nearly 600,000 cybersecurity positions are open in the U.S., according to 2021 data from Cyberseek.org.
Part of the current US cybersecurity strategy is to export its cyber knowledge to its allies. Torres has first-hand experience in this regard.
At the state-sponsored Honors College Diplomacy Laboratory, Torres investigated disinformation operations in the Latin American elections. He and his partners presented their investigation to embassy officials there.
“Gerald found that national political actors were much more involved in influencing political outcomes than much of what you hear about Russians and Chinese,” says Professor Brian Fonseca, director of the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy. and course instructor.
Knowing where cyberattacks originate is just one area where politics and cybersecurity intersect. At NASA, Torres took a look behind the scenes of how cybersecurity and space combine at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The FIU student has also done an internship at MITER, the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, and another place he can’t talk about because of his confidentiality.
At the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Torres will be able to research and publish editorials on the different ways in which cybersecurity intersects with society. As he takes on the duties of his director in staffing, he plans to investigate misinformation and how cybersecurity and space policy fit together.
As someone who has seen the details of U.S. cybersecurity, Torres is motivated to help the U.S. position itself well in the cyber landscape.
“If we had cyber policy experts to help fill the need for the hundreds of thousands of job vacancies we have, what could we do?” Torres wonders. “What policies could we use to keep people safe? That’s the kind of thing that keeps me motivated.”