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Digital Defense 101: Don’t be a Cyber Victim!

August 29, 2020 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm EDT

Digital Defense 101

About this Event

You prepare and train to protect yourself and loved ones from physical harm. But, are you protecting yourself from digital harm? The dangers associated with encounter situations and unknown contacts are intuitive, as are our responses, ranging from avoidance to less than lethal means such as pepper spray to the employment of deadly force. All of these things make instinctive sense; we’re hard wired to sense and respond to physical threats.

Unfortunately, many of today’s most common and pervasive threats to our well-being aren’t physical. We all have digital personas that are vulnerable and at risk of harm. We are all attacked hundreds, if not thousands, of times a day without knowing it. Malicious activity is rampant in cyberspace, and whether it’s the result of negligence, criminality, or state-sponsored activity, the harm it can cause is profound, debilitating, and often of long duration. And it’s not limited to cyberspace; your physical safety and well-being can be at risk from your cyber vulnerabilities. Fraud, stalking, identity theft, reputational impact, financial and credit damage are just the tip of the risk iceberg. As more of our physical world converges with cyberspace, opportunities for malicious actors multiply. What happens if someone bent on doing you harm gains control of your phone, your home’s thermostat, your Cloud enabled locks, your car, or your pacemaker or insulin pump?

Digital Defense 101, taught by cybersecurity industry executives and university professors, is designed to provide “an actionable digital security framework for real people.” This framework will prepare students to understand the nature of the digital threats they face on a minute to minute basis and provide them with a mindset and a toolkit that will enable them to safely and successfully navigate a hostile cyberspace. Training consists of familiarization with common cyber threats, risk mitigation tactics, techniques, and procedures that will enable students to recognize threat indicators, and a combination of skills, training, and tools that will enable students to neutralize most common threats. In many cases students will configure and begin using the tools immediately, during class.

The goal of this course is not to create a cybersecurity professional or a hacker. The goal is to provide attendees with solid fundamentals geared toward an increasingly risky cyberspace within which anyone who uses a computer, tablet, smartphone, or, often, connected home appliances and cars, has to live, work, and travel.

  • The awareness, tools, methods, and techniques taught in Digital Defense 101 are for everyone regardless of the state of your computer literacy. If you use technology, at all, this class is for you. You DO NOT have to be a technology expert, coder, or hacker for this class. This will be a class about awareness and techniques that you can work into your daily life to make your digital persona significantly safer. It is a class to provide you with the digital defensive skills to complement your physical defensive skills. It is not a computer science class!
  • Requirements: Laptop computer, tablet, or smartphone (all three, if possible) with WiFi capability, notebook, pen and an open mind.

Digital Defense 101 is divided into modules that address specific facets of personal cybersecurity. Topics covered will include:

  • The Threat: Who are the malicious actors, and what are they after?
  • Attack Basics: How do the bad guys get what they want?
  • Common Risk and Exposures
  • The Information Security Triad Demystified
  • You Are the Product: The Surveillance State and Surveillance Capitalism
  • Risk Mitigation 1: Device configuration and basic tooling
  • Risk Mitigation 2: Reading the signs in your personal digital environment
  • Risk Mitigation 3: Defeating social engineering
  • Risk Mitigation 4: Reducing your digital footprint in a state of surveillance
  • Risk Mitigation 5: The Cloud, and how not to get rained on
  • Risk Mitigation 6: Communicating securely
  • Risk Mitigation 7: Let’s encrypt (everything)
  • A Way Ahead

Instructors: Adam Firestone and Hilary MacMillan

Adam Firestone

Adam Firestone has been deeply involved with information security and cybersecurity for over 24 years. During that time and continuing to the present, he has been a senior executive in cybersecurity and technology organizations, designed, architected, and engineered information security and cybersecurity systems, and taught graduate courses in engineering, information security, cybersecurity, and cryptography at the graduate level at both Georgetown University and George Mason University. Adam is a frequent speaker and writer on personal and organizational digital security, cybersecurity policy, and technical education. He passionately believes in spreading the word about achievable, meaningful cybersecurity measures that can have a huge impact on individuals, and changing the national conversation about the cyber hygiene. As part of this effort to raise cybersecurity awareness, Adam serves as editor-in-chief of United States Cybersecurity Magazine. Adam is also dedicated to improving the state of information security technology, and is the inventor/co-inventor behind two patents: An invention for ensuring multilevel data security through the application of advanced identity and access management techniques, and an encryption protocol capable of provably extending the security guarantees offered by standardized bulk encryption mechanisms.

Hilary MacMillan

Hilary MacMillan has been engineering secure systems for nearly 20 years, continuously looking for ways to build technology that protects what matters most to those who use it. She’s worked on systems ranging from those that enable national security to those that empower commercial viability, always with a focus on mitigating risks that stem from threats these systems, and us, their users, face in both physical and digital environments. She’s co-inventor on a patent for a bulk-data encryption protocol that improves encryption resiliency in the face of quantum computing and is a frequent contributor to United States Cybersecurity Magazine where she writes on a variety of topics in cybersecurity and secure system design. She also teaches graduate level courses in cybersecurity, cryptography, and systems engineering at Georgetown University. She believes that each of us are absolutely capable of taking meaningful and valuable actions toward protecting ourselves and our communities – online and on-ground – and is committed to lifting the veil of mystery that, for many, surrounds digital security.


August 29, 2020
9:00 am - 5:00 pm EDT




F3 Tactical
14231 Willard Road, #300
Chantilly, VA 20151 United States
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