A Unique Animal

By Alejandro Fernández-Cernuda Díaz 

One of the first things that I learned when I started working in security, quite a few years ago, was that criminals were always smarter, they were always several steps ahead from us. Over time, I even ended up joining some of my peers’ admiration for their creativity, their capacity to always find ways to take the lead.

Cyber security, in that sense, does not differ much from traditional security. Just to mention some of their latest achievements, e-criminals were the first to monetise cryptocurrencies and blockchain, and the first to discover the benefits of distributed resource and data sharing. They also mastered advanced technical knowledge such as signal eavesdropping or cryptography and are skilled professionals in non-IT fields such as finance, criminal law, and international relations. And, of course, their capacities in social engineering are simply unmatched.

During my baptism by fire at GCA, that is, during my first days at the RSA Conference, I have been able to confirm these thoughts. Creativity, adaptability, and a multidisciplinary approach are the key trends in the ever-competitive market of cyber security. Any company, organisation, or professional trying to make a difference in the fight against e-crime has to display their strength in all three skills.

GCA, that unique animal in the ecosystem of nonprofits (as Phil Reitinger, our president and CEO likes to say) has those skills and is indeed making a difference.

As shown by the implementation of DMARC, by the deployment of Quad9, or more recently by the launch of the Cybersecurity Toolkit for Small Business, GCA has proven to be creative enough to actually re-invent the wheel, to bring actual innovation to well-trodden areas of cyber security such as e-mail authentication, DNS security, or basic protection for SMEs. This is quite an unusual achievement for a nonprofit.

Also, GCA has proven to have a unique nose for finding new opportunities and adapting its light, versatile structure to new climates and realities, such as the complex and hyper-regulated EU market, or the restricted playground of LEAs, where it acts as a respected and trusted partner.

And finally, the multidisciplinary nature of GCA’s team, a truly vivid collection of unique animals ranging from IT experts and former law enforcement heroes, to communication professionals and policy gurus, increases the group’s sensitivity and responsiveness, with a large display of antennae and sensors in multiple, disconnected forums.

I, a humble cyber linguist with an Espanish accent, have recently had the opportunity and the honour to join this group. I just hope I will be strange enough to help GCA keep to make a difference. Gracias por contar conmigo.

The author, Alejandro Fernández-Cernuda Díaz, is the Director of Communications and Marketing at the Global Cyber Alliance. You can follow Alejandro on Twitter @CyberDiplo or connect with him on LinkedIn