A visit from the FBI

A visit from the FBI – to a school to give a talk on security. Good entertaining read!

Well, it finally happened. Right before Christmas, I had a little visit from the FBI, writes SecurityFocus columnist Scott Granneman. That’s right: an agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation came to see me. He had some things he wanted to talk about. He stayed a couple of hours, and then went on his way. Hopefully he got what he wanted. I know I did.

Let me explain. I teach technology classes at Washington University in St. Louis, a fact that I mentioned in a column from 22 October 2003 titled, “Joe Average User Is In Trouble”. In that column, I talked about the fact that most ordinary computer users have no idea about what security means. They don’t practice secure computing because they don’t understand what that means. After that column came out, I received a lot of email. One of those emails was from Dave Thomas, former chief of computer intrusion investigations at FBI headquarters, and current Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the St. Louis Division of the FBI.

Dave had this to say: “I have spent a considerable amount in the computer underground and have seen many ways in which clever individuals trick unsuspecting users. I don’t think most people have a clue just how bad things are.” He then offered to come speak to my students about his experiences.

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