Cybersecurity is more than just computers.
“A lot of companies, a lot of organizations use the term, but it’s not a simple term,” said Jeffrey Wells, executive director of cyber development at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. “Cybersecurity involves anything that has a microprocessor.”
That includes cars, planes or even Wells’ own hearing aids, he said, which his son once hacked.
His remarks came at a Wednesday morning talk to the Greater Baltimore Committee’s event Understanding the Business of Cyber in Maryland, part of Baltimore Innovation Week.
On Wednesday, he said not every cyber attack or breach is necessarily malicious. Sometimes, it’s just a result of plain old human error.
“It does mean that we are at risk … from bad manufacturing processes or bad code,” Wells said. “Just as my brain makes mistakes, so does code, so do microprocessors.”
That’s part of why, he said, technology is often the smallest piece of the cyber puzzle.
“Technology is really irrelevant because it changes so quickly,” he said. “It’s really about … figuring out how to solve problems.”
In his role at DBED, Wells guides cyber outreach to the business community, connecting firms with labs and incubators. The Free State, Wells said, is uniquely positioned to succeed in cyber with its proximity to power centers in Washington and New York, a high concentration of educated residents and colleges and the presence of government functions like the National Security Agency at Fort Meade.
“One of our greatest exports in the coming years will be our intellectual capital,” Wells said. “I’m a problem-solver, I’m a businessman and I think if you solve the problem, everything else comes.”
Wells’ department hosts the annual CyberMaryland Conference at the Baltimore Convention Center, which is being held Oct. 29-30.
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