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Reflections from a Scholar: Fadi Farag

After climbing up the uniquely shaped entrance, I went through metal detectors and passed by guards. After security permitted me to enter the conference room, I was greeted with a generous goodie bag filled with pens, mugs, a lanyard, a stress ball, a notepad, and even mousepads. I took my seat. While we awaited Mr. Geraghty to start the program, we began conversing with each other. Mr. Michael Geraghty, the director of the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Information Cell (NJCCIC), introduced the organization (pronounced as “NJ Kick”) and its responsibilities to protecting New Jersey.

Following Mr. Geraghty, Kevin McKenzie, the NJCCIC’s cyber defense specialist, explained his background as a former intern for the NJCCIC. Now as a full-time employee, Mr. McKenzie discussed the concept of EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) and telemetry. To accompany his explanations, Mr. McKenzie displayed the NJCCIC’s real-time statistics and showed us the platform that the NJCCIC used. Like Mr. McKenzie, Jessica Reiszel was another cyber defense specialist at the organization. She discussed many other applications, platforms, and tools the NJCCIC used.

Before she worked at the NJCCIC, Krista Valenzuela, a senior cyber threat intelligence analyst, worked at the federal level. She discussed IOC analysis and how the NJCCIC identifies situations where it is compromised. Interestingly, she mentioned public relations and information. When prompted with the term “cybersecurity”, we often imagine the technical aspects of the career, neglecting the fact that cybersecurity incidents and research must be reported to the public and presented to officials.