When local schools sent parents back-to-school supply lists last year, administrators had no idea they set the stage for a potential cyber disaster. Little did they know the innocuous request that fourth-graders buy thumb drives to use for homework could unleash an infection path that could affect the school, students and countless Northern Virginian computers. The controversy began when a parent pointed out the potential infection risk of the schools’ request.
The mother who raised the alarm wasn’t just any parent. She is cybersecurity expert Melissa Hathaway, president of Hathaway Global Strategies, LLC, and senior adviser at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. As the former cyber-coordination executive and director of the Joint Interagency Cyber Task Force in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in the Bush administration and acting senior director for cyberspace in the National Security Council in the Obama administration where she led a team of cyber experts in Obama’s 60-Day Cyberspace Policy Review, Hathaway knows the dangers of a seemingly innocent thumb drive.
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