Alumnus David Kelly speaks at Big Data Innovator Series

November is Big Data month, and we’ve been working hard to demonstrate how important (and cool) big data is in many ways – one of which is the Big Data Innovator Series taking place here at Seidenberg.

The series is a collection of talks and interviews with Seidenberg alumni who work with big data. There are three talks – two in November and one in December – and we strongly encourage our students to attend!

The first event took place on Wednesday November 9th in the Seidenberg Lounge at 163 William St. The speaker was David Kelly (MS Information Systems ’94), and he spoke to an incredible turnout of 120 students! David is the CIO and co-chief operating officer at Pine River Capital Management, so he had a lot of great advice to share with our students interested in going into the financial world.

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In an interview with Seidenberg Dean Jonathan Hill, David spoke about his career, things he had learned, and what he looked for when interviewing candidates for a particular job. “I’m going to assume you know how to code,” he said about his expectations of potential employees. “Going to school in lower Manhattan also shows that you’ve got character.”

He added that internships and travel, particularly international travel, were all good signs, and that if a student has “a cool and unique background . . . the interviewer will like finding a connection.”

One of David’s most important pieces of advice to students was showing a willingness to work hard and to learn, even if you are asked to do something that you don’t know or that isn’t included in your job description. “Show willingness to do what you’re asked to do,” he said.

“Be flexible. Do as they ask you to do. Over time you become regarded as a well-rounded person. Don’t have a deterministic view of what your job should be. Don’t be religious with technology – there’s a classic trick question we like to use: do you prefer using Lotus 1-2-3 or Excel? The correct answer is that it doesn’t matter – if you’re religious about one type of technology, it can hinder you.”

David also had some insights into the big data and cybersecurity fields, saying that the job prospects in cybersecurity were going to be just as good in 2019 as they are now.

“I think they are converging,” David said of big data and cybersecurity. “A lot of security solutions are out there . . . but how do you stitch all of these different solutions together? Real time analysis – that’s where big data comes in.”

We really enjoyed having David visit for our Big Data Innovator Series and would like to extend a big thank you to David and to organizer Deth Sao.

Next up is Jason Molfetas, the CIO of Amtrak!

Pace U recognition awards for Seidenberg faculty and staff

Fran O’Gara receives her award

On Thursday, November 17, 2016, several of our hard-working and dedicated faculty and staff members received Pace University Employee Recognition Awards.

Pace President Stephen J. Friedman was on site at Pace University’s Pleasantville campus to congratulate the recipients, who were being recognized by the University for their years of service. Pace employees typically start to garner recognition for service after 5 years, but these awardees are just a tad past that point!

Susan Feather-Gannon with Stephen Friedman

Lisa Slingerland, the Online Student Services Coordinator for NACTEL, was recognized for 15 years of service.

Associate Dean Susan Feather-Gannon and Administrative Director Fran O’Gara received awards for 20 years of service.

Faculty members Jean Coppola and Ron Frank were recognized for an amazing 30 years of service!

Jean Coppola receives her award

We are proud of the amazing people that work so hard to make Seidenberg great. Thank you to our awardees for your excellent contributions to our school and our students!

Darren Hayes visits state-of-the-art forensics lab and police cyber crime center in Northern Ireland

In October 2016, our very own Dr. Darren Hayes was invited to visit two different forensics laboratories in Northern Ireland. Anthony Harbinson, Director of Safer Communities for the Northern Ireland Department of Justice and Former President of the ACCA, was kind enough to organize this fascinating, educational experience for Hayes. The visit included a tour of the new, state-of-the-art lab of Forensic Science Northern Ireland (FSNI), an Agency of the Department of Justice, based at Seapark, Carrickfergus, as well as a visit to the highly impressive Cyber Crime Center of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Stan Brown, Executive Director, Forensic Science Northern Ireland (FSNI), and his outstanding team, provided Hayes with tremendous insight into some of the cutting-edge forensic analysis techniques implemented by FSNI. Hayes remarked, “Forensic Science Northern Ireland and the Department of Justice, with their significant financial investment, have not only signaled their intent to provide the people of Northern Ireland with a laboratory that they can feel proud of but they have also successfully raised the standard for other laboratories worldwide. Other agencies will certainly strive to emulate their extraordinary success. The lab operates with the utmost integrity, guided by strict protocols. FSNI have not only integrated the latest technology into their labs but have also considered the impact on the community and its employees, which is admirable. It was refreshing to see that employee input was critical to the development of a new lab to provide a safe, efficient and comfortable environment within which to operate. This level of planning rarely occurs elsewhere. Moreover, the new forensics lab was built to the highest European standards of sustainability to ensure that the facility was environmentally safe and responsible. Their accomplishments are inspiring”.

Another highlight of Dr. Hayes’ trip was a visit to PSNI’s Cyber Crime Center. Detective Constable Ian McClurg and his colleagues were kind enough to explain to Hayes some of the current cyber crimes that they investigate to ultimately ensure the safety of the Northern Ireland community. In a digital, inter-connected world, cyber crime has no borders. Hayes noted that the “PSNI has invested considerably and wisely in the latest technologies and employ some of the most technically-advanced investigators in the world. The personnel that I met possess the expertise that would be sought after by any organization worldwide. Their unwavering dedication to protecting the local community is highly commendable.”

Dr. Hayes said that “the warm hospitality of the people in Northern Ireland is world-renowned but this visit far surpassed my expectations and I greatly appreciate the time and consideration afforded by Mr. Harbinson and his colleagues.”​

Students hop down to Texas for Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

img_20161020_134643October was a busy month at the Seidenberg School. Not only was it Cybersecurity Month, meaning we had plenty of events relating to all things privacy and security, but we were still recovering from the launch of the fantastic NYC Design Factory.

What better time to get away from it all by attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Houston, Texas?

The conference is a massive, annual event that usually takes place in a different location each year. Since its inception in 1994, the conference has grown from just a few hundred delegates to this year’s incredible collection of attendees – around 16,000! And some of those awesome women in attendance were Seidenberg students and staff.

d688e116-b58d-4dad-bcaf-89b51a87be8cAmongst the students were undergraduates Karishma Saini (BS Computer Science), Melanie Green (BS Information Technology), Gauri Kirve (BS Information Systems), and Ketaki Mulajkar (BS Computer Science), as well as graduate students Raisa Mukadam (MS Information Systems), Alexa Piccoli (MS Computer Science) and Beverly Gladden (MS Information Systems). They were joined by Seidenberg staffers Kim Brazaitis, Svetlana Kotlyarenko, and me!

Trying out Microsoft Hololens
Trying out Microsoft Hololens

To say the conference was absolutely massive is an understatement. The opening keynote took place in the enormous Toyota Center stadium where amazing speakers got the crowd hyped up for the next few days of networking, professional development workshops and sessions, and a serious amount of partying. Keynote topics included privacy and cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and cognitive computing, and were discussed by Latanya Sweeney, Ginni Rometty, Alyssia Jovellanos, and Anna Patterson.

Seidenberg School booth
Seidenberg School booth

After the keynote, the conference was in full swing. Day one consisted largely of everybody checking out the expo, where hundreds of organizations (including the Seidenberg School!) had set up booths to share information, network with others, and give out free swag.

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Melanie Greene with one of the awesome Google displays

Computer Science student Melanie Greene said: “It was uplifting to see the number of prestigious companies at the career expo – I really saw their commitment to embracing diversity in the industry, and it was touching. I got the chance to meet many enthusiastic employees from so many companies such as Google, Microsoft, Walt Disney, Facebook and to attend Google’s party that was out of this world. Have you ever created your own emoji and then seen it in the foam of your coffee? I have now. I am blown away by the advancements made in technology and I hope to be a part of them in the future.”

In the evenings, a wealth of social events took place with free food, fantastic networking opportunities, and inspirational speakers – including the aforementioned Google party that was, indeed, out of this world.

Google selfidriving car
Google had a self-driving car on display

Days two and three were packed with professional development and educational workshops and panels that our students were sure to make the most of during networking breaks. Some of our students were so impressive that they were offered interviews for jobs on the spot! We are extremely proud of our students’ talents and their abilities to share their expertise with people they have just met.

resized_20161019_181829The conference came to a close too soon and we were sad to leave the warm, humid temperatures of Houston to return to the tepid airs of New York… but it was an incredible experience.

Graduate student Alexa Piccoli said: “Attending Grace Hopper this year well exceeded my expectations . . . There are so many awesome things happening in the world of technology and it reassured me that being a women in the field is something I should be proud of and thankful for.

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Alexa Piccoli designs her personal emoji to be replicated in a latte

“From the keynote speakers to the breakout sessions, to the awesome Google party, I truly learned a lot and had fun. I learned how women have deeply influenced and paved the path in technology, how to get involved in capture the flag competitions, the advancements of blockchain, and how  you can do anything you set your mind to in this field. I would encourage students to go to this event next year and get involved in all that being a women in technology has to offer!”

Interested in attending the conference next year? Let us know!

Student post: East Coast Cyberattack poses the question: Are we truly safe?

On Friday October 21st, at around 7:10am EST, many internet users from all over the country lost connection to many commonly used sites in an attack that rippled across the country from east to west. The company was able to restore service a few hours later but then had to shut down at around noon. By this time, the hackers had started to make their journey to the West coast.

What happened? There was a huge attack on one major provider of the Domain Name System, Dyn Inc., which resulted in them taking down a few popular sites such as Netflix and Spotify (to name a few). Oh the horror!!!!

Kyle York, who is currently the Chief Strategy Officer of Dyn, said the hackers launched a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack using tons of malware – infected devices connected to the internet. According to their records, this is the third attack they have experienced this year.

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A DDoS can be achieved in a number of ways, but usually involves a distributed network of  “zombie” machines, referred to as botnets. A botnet is formed with computers and other connected devices in homes or offices infected with vicious code which, upon a hacker’s request, can take over a web server with data. One or two machines wouldn’t be an issue, but if tens or hundreds of thousands fire such data simultaneously, it can impair even the best of web servers.

By Friday evening, the attacks were stopped and all was right in the world again.

Unfortunately, security professionals are anticipating more cyber attacks centered around the Internet of Things (IoT). This assumption was made after a hacker released a software code that powers the malware, called Mirai, just a few weeks prior.

A padlock is displayed at the Alert Logic booth during the 2016 Black Hat cyber-security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. August 3, 2016. REUTERS/David Becker

“I have never seen severity this big, impacting so many sites and lasting over such a prolonged period of time,” said Dave Anderson, the vice president of marketing at Dynatrace LLC. “It just shows how vulnerable and interconnected the world is, and when something happens in one region, it impacts every other region.”

Cybersecurity is an ever growing concern across the globe. As hackers become more and more sophisticated, they constantly change their tactics to overcome security measures in place by companies and organizations. This causes an issue where cybersecurity professionals are forced to respond to attacks as they happen rather than prevent them entirely – no matter what security measures are in place, dedicated hackers are focused on finding a way to beat the ‘challenge’. As a result, the cybersecurity industry is constantly on the look out for talented professionals.

Student blog – Hacktivism: Justice or Anarchy?

 

This opinion piece was written by student Alexander Agbulos.

Hacktivism is the concept of “hacking” into a computer system in order to convey a social justice message or commence a movement. Hacktivist groups, such as Anonymous or Lulzsec are infamous for these cyberattacks – they have even been deemed “the new guardians of our civil liberties” (as well as “the internet hate machine”) – because of their exposure of government secrets and lies.  But should these vigilantes be praised or vilified? Many approve of their methods, donning Guy Fawkes masks and joining the cult, while others deem it narcissistic.

For instance, a heated debate continues today over the actions of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. By leaking confidential USA government surveillance programs, Snowden risked his life, but is considered a traitor since he broke the law in doing so. However, “the law” can be justified with 2 sides of the same coin i.e. slavery. Slavery was an unjust moment in history but was legal for a long time until it was abolished. However, it should never have existed in the first place since the Declaration of Independence explicitly claimed that “all men are created equal”. In other words, just because it is the law, does not mean it is legal – the safest hands are still our own.

Maybe hacktivists such as Snowden or Anonymous are over emotional, but their actions impact the community in a diverse way. Sometimes, action requires to step outside of the law in order to have it conveyed for the greater good. Since not everyone is able to project their ideals through a government connection, civil action becomes necessary. Although it seems like anarchy, hacktivists can be seen as the hero over an anarchist because they open the door for legal action. Perhaps they really are “the new guardians of our civil liberties.”

Thanks for contributing to the Seidenberg School blog, Alexander!