DakotaCon: “All this in the middle of a corn field”

The days before the start of DakotaCon are beginning to count down, joining in this count down are DSU faculty, staff and students along with anyone in the region interested in cyber-security. The last weekend in April will bring the best in cyber-security to the small town of Madison, S.D., as the motto says, “All this in the middle of a corn field.”

Although this cyber-security conference may seem like an event only techies would be interested in, it’s something that everyone should begin to address, not just the technology experts. “Knowledge is power,” said Jeff Bullock, DakotaCon presenter. “But more than that: info security is no longer just a niche, it’ll be our kids’ way of life as we get older. Even non-techies need to have ‘security’ in the back of their minds as technology evolves.”

Bullock graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in 2009 with his Bachelor of Science in Information, Science & Technology, taking the Information Assurance Track; he minored in Geographic Information Science. He also participated in the Department of Defense (DoD) Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP) which led him to a full-time career with the DoD in the Baltimore and national capital region. The DSU Cyber Corps scholarship program is also part of the DoD IASP along with the National Science Foundation’s Scholarship for Service.

“IASP is a great program because the DoD gets a chance to grease the skids with students during their internship so that they can hit the ground running when they come on-board full time. IASP also has a great reputation in DoD; it’s recognized, AND sought for, when you look at how quickly those students typically progress in their careers,” explains Bullock.

It seems fitting that a university that participates in high-caliber scholarship programs and offers extensive undergraduate and graduate degrees would hold one of the premier security events in the region. “DSU is an amazing university,” commented Jared DeMott, another DakotaCon presenter. “When I first went, I thought ‘How much technology will really be in this corn field?’ To my surprise, the DSU security professors such as Josh Pauli and Pat Engebretson are truly remarkable. They are like computer crime snipers: building a top notch program in relative obscurity. The best part: their program rivals the quality of much larger programs. DSU should absolutely continue to be a middle-American cyber force, building degrees that are as excellent as they are surprising. DakotaCon is one link in that chain.”

DeMott is a Principal Security Researcher for Crucial Security Inc. and a PhD candidate at Michigan State University. DeMott helps Crucial provide state-of-the-art technical engineering and security services to the most elite branches of the federal government’s law enforcement and intelligence communities, engineering solutions to meet their demanding requirements. DeMott previously worked for the National Security Agency (NSA) and currently teaches computer security via his course: Application Security - for Hackers and Developers. He has spoken at security conferences such as Black Hat, Defcon, ToorCon, and Shakacon.

Bullock and DeMott are two presenters that will be speaking at this year’s DakotaCon. They are part of a long list of nationally known cyber-security experts that will be presenting at the event which also include Moxie Marlinspike, Hattrick, Jon McCoy, Joe Grand and hubris. There will be free presentations that are open to the public all Friday, April 27th at the Tunheim Classroom Building on the DSU campus.

For more information on DakotaCon, logon to www.dakotacon.org or contact Josh Pauli at josh.pauli@dsu.edu

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Last Updated: 4/19/12