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Alumnus Wins Prestigious Carnegie Endowment Fellowship for Cybersecurity Research | FIU News

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu’s enduring words in The art of War apply to more than just combat. They are also true when it comes to cybersecurity.

When it comes to cybersecurity, countries need more than just expert coders. They need specialists in cyber-policies and cyber-strategies.

This is the booming field where Gerald Torres ’21 works.

A graduate of Honors College with a rare combination of cybersecurity and international relations experience, Torres will travel to Washington D.C. in August to participate in the technology and international affairs sector of the prestigious James C. Gaither Junior Fellows program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

As FIU’s first Gaither Junior Fellow, he will study how the world can become a more cyber-secure place.

“Congress and the government are trying to get everyone to think more secure,” says Torres, who remembers Edward Snowden’s leak how data privacy can be easily circumvented if cyber policies aren’t strong. . “I want to be able to help.”

The challenges of cybersecurity are enormous. In addition to data privacy, providing chains and many elections rely on cybersecurity. Thus, the demand for jobs in the field has exploded. There are nearly 600,000 open cybersecurity positions in the United States, according to 2021 data from Cyberseek.org.

Part of the current US cybersecurity strategy is to export its cybersecurity knowledge to its allies. Torres has first-hand experience on this front.

In the state-sponsored Honors College Diplomacy Lab, Torres researched disinformation operations in Latin American elections. He and his partners presented their research to embassy officials there.

“Gerald found that national political actors were much more involved in influencing political outcomes than a lot 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 come from is just one area where politics and cybersecurity intersect. While at NASA, Torres got a behind-the-scenes look at the combination of cybersecurity and space at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The CRF alum also interned at MITRE, Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, and one other place he can’t talk about due to its confidential nature.

At the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Torres will be able to research and publish editorials on the various ways cybersecurity intersects with society. While taking assignments from his director at staffing, he plans to research disinformation as well as how cybersecurity and space policy intertwine.

As someone who has seen the ins and outs of cybersecurity in the United States, Torres is motivated to help the United States position itself well in the cyber landscape.

“If we had cyber policy experts to fill the needs of the hundreds of thousands of vacancies we have, what could we do?” wonders Torres. “What policies could we use to keep people safe? These are the kinds of things that motivate me. »

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