WE ‘ GO PHISHING ’ WITH WILL ACKERLY , CTO AND CO-FOUNDER , VIRTRU , WHO TELLS US ABOUT LIFE INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE OFFICE .
wWhat would you describe as your most memorable achievement in the cybersecurity industry ?
Definitely the moment we open-sourced OpenTDF for anyone to use for free . It was the culmination of 10 years of work since the first public release of
the Trusted Data Format ( TDF ) in 2012 , which allows rightful data owners to enforce usage rights through encryption . Up until that point , TDF was an open format but there wasn ’ t an easy to use open source project to allow any developer to make data truly selfprotecting , agnostic to the use case . I ’ ve been really surprised by how many creative uses have already emerged , whether it is governing sensitive data as it flows through documents , video feeds , IoT sensors , or multi-party analytics .
What first made you think of a career in cybersecurity ?
Early in my career as an electrical engineer in 2003 , I got exposed to just how much inherent trust is assumed in many systems by default . My very first job was at Advanced Micro Devices designing Peripheral Card Interface sub-systems ( PCI ) and I was shocked that at the time , any peripheral , whether it was a graphics card or sound card , was effectively 100 % trusted to read or write memory anywhere in the system . It was considered a performance feature and not a bug . That sent me down the cybersecurity rabbit hole starting with hardware-centric roots of trust , like TEEs and TPMs , to today much more focused on the data-centric side of things .
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position ?
I feel deeply blessed to have had some fantastic managers and I try to emulate those great attributes . The single most consistent of which was a focus on empowering others to be great . As such , I see it as my job to provide those on our team with the resources they need to get their job done – to do the blocking and tackling necessary to allow them to achieve and otherwise get out of their way . It ’ s win-win in so many ways , from a quality of life standpoint and helping others grow by giving them new chances and opportunities .
What do you think is the current hot cybersecurity talking point ?
Zero Trust data protection . While Zero Trust has previously been poorly or inconsistently defined , there is a growing consensus on what it means to achieve advanced Zero Trust protections within any of the seven pillars , quite concretely . Data protection and in particular classification / tagging and subsequent encryption of data for the means of controlling access to it wherever it may go , is greatly benefitting from clearer guidance and expectations from industry and relevant government bodies publishing Zero Trust guidance .
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office ?
My mind always finds something to worry about and I love building things with my hands , so I always have a project to turn to that involves soldering or drilling or something of the sort , that www . intelligentciso . com