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Hacked: The Threat of Cybersecurity at The City Club

On Friday, February 20th, we went to the City Club for a panel discussion titled "Hacked: the Threat of Cybersecurity" featuring Mr. Joseph M. Demarest, Jr., Assistant Director, Cyber Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation; Ms. Amy G. Brady, Chief Information Officer, KeyBank; and Mr. James Noga, Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Partners Healthcare. This discussion was moderated by Mr. Rick Jackson, Host/Producer, WCPN, Morning Edition who also moderated a program at the City Club that we attended on Wednesday titled "History Matters: Understanding the Role of Policy, Race, and Real Estate in Cuyahoga County." We have gone to other events regarding cyber crime and the basic message was the same; it is not a question of whether or not you will be hacked but a question of when and this is starting to apply to medium-sized and small-sized firms as well as to large ones. Law firms and hospitals are very vulnerable. Mr. Noga said that an estimated $12 billion has been lost due to medical/insure fraud. As Mr. Demarest said, "cyber criminals are doing it for gain. Everything that they steal they will sell to the highest bidder." But with the right levels of cooperation between businesses and governmental agencies like the FBI, the damage can be considerably lessened.

In fact, as Ms. Brady said, cyber information security is becoming a "hot" career and all of the panelists agreed. Everyone said that their organizations aggressively search the universities for new talent. They also agreed that businesses that might be competing with each other are increasingly willing to work together on cyber crime issues because they realize that the harm has the potential to be devastating to an entire industry.

During the Q and A, we asked if people who have immigrated to the United States with a limited proficiency in English are particularly vulnerable to cybercrime. Mr. Demarest said that we are all vulnerable but he was not aware of statistics that showed immigrants being especially targeted. He believed that someone who may have immigrated to the United States from Romania would probably be targeted by a hacker back in Romania. We both agreed that a problem might arise because the immigrant might feel insecure about his/her status in the United States and thus be reluctant to turn to law enforcement.

At today's event we shared a table with several good people including Mr. Tom Siu with Information Technology Services at CWRU who has sometimes dealt with international students who are experiencing problems with their immigration status; and Ms. Evie Braman with Braman Real Estate Services who enjoys receiving an invite to the Margaret W. Wong and Associates holiday party each year and loves reading the inserts about Ms. Wong's family.

We talked to Mr. Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland Field Office for the F.B.I. who we had met before at a First Friday Club luncheon. Mr. Anthony invited us to visit the F.B.I.'s Citizen Academy and we may take him up on it.

We also had previously met Ms. Anita Gray, Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League who beautifully articulated her concerns about how aggressive security measures might affect our civil rights and civil liberties.

The program for this day was sponsored by the Accellis Technology Group and Mr. Brian Guscott, one of its officers, addressed the us for a moment and said, "cybersecurity touches us all in a variety of ways. It is a difficult issue to deal with." And we believe that everyone who was there would agree with him.

That evening we went to Asian Town Center on Superior Avenue to attend an Asian Community Meeting that was conducted by our friend Ms. Chia-Min Chen, Asian Liaison on the Community Relations Board at Cleveland City Hall. Despite the below-freezing weather, almost 20 people turned out to it.

Ms. Chen said that what particularly concerns the Asian people in Cleveland/Northeast Ohio are safety, jobs/employment, business/economics, and resources. Regarding the safety issue, Ms. Chen has conducted workshops and teaches people who are struggling with English to call 911 and say "help" and then either "doctor", "police", and "fire". She then introduced Sgt. Kennedy Jones of the Cleveland Police Department who urged those in trouble to contact the police because if they do not, then the problems will continue. Sgt. Jones said that the police are aware that a small group of thieves has been targeting the Asian community and they just caught several serial burglars. He concluded his remarks by saying, "we are committed to helping you."

Other topics that were mentioned at this meeting were:

***Ms. Chen gets a lot of job postings and will soon meet with the person in charge of "Ohio Means Jobs." Meanwhile, Ms. Chen suggested that people consider applying to the Cleveland Police Dept. which is reaching out to different ethnic groups. Ms. Chen said that she would like to see our police department be as diverse as those in California.

***The International Community Health Center will have its opening on Wednesday, February 25th. It will offer a variety of health services and have interpreters for 33 different languages. Everyone was invited to come to this event.

***On April 18th there will be a domestic violence conference aimed at the immigrant community. Many are not aware that a domestic violence victim who is covered by the visa of her husband (the batterer) might be eligible for "U visa" which will enable her to stay in the United States even if her husband gets deported.

***The recent White House listening session in Cleveland involving Asian-Pacific Islanders was a fine success. Moreover, more people came to the Cleveland session that the one in Chicago.

***Ms. Chen urged everyone to participate in Diversity week at the end of April and Asian month in May.

Ms. Anne Y. Pu of the "Erie Chinese Journal" was there and she said that she really appreciated the work that Ms. Chen was doing and told everyone that she believed that by all of us working together a difference can be made.

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