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I was very surprised to find my blog recently made the ‘Top 100 National Security Resource‘ list, which is related to the MSc Homeland Security programmes some universities (even here in the UK) are running. There’s also a lot of interest in this already, judging by the number of hits I’m getting.

First, I’ll be honest and say I have fundamental differences of opinion from those heading what currently passes for ‘homeland security’, for pretty much the same reasons as Jay Heiser (InfoSecurity Magazine columnist) and Scott Terban. Sometimes the known facts conflict with the politics of whatever less informed (and often unqualified) ‘expert’ gets his five minutes in front of the Senate. That comes with the territory.

The posts here also include concepts that appear to run counter to those of the Department of Homeland Security et. al., and they’re mostly based on the axiom that technology doesn’t distinguish between governments and criminals. Technology serves whoever exploits it. The methods for protecting digital rights, being open, peer reviewed and tested, will also help protect against terrorism and organised crime, not to mention protect the lives of those serving their country. This is where the blog could possibly be considered a national security resource, if the information is taken the right way.

What of the MSc programme itself? From what I can tell, it provides a decent grounding in threat assessment and intelligence, alongside some general background stuff on various possible threats. This definitely wouldn’t by itself make someone a ‘cyber’ security expert, just like there’s no shortcut to becoming an engineer, nuclear physicist or explosives expert. But it could well be a step in the right direction, if it eventually leads to better informed, more intelligent and strategic security than what we’ve seen over the previous decade.
Meanwhile, the blogs from the MSc candidates themselves will make interesting reading.