Bomb defusing expert to cybersecurity academic is not a typical path. Jibey Asthappan combines front line experience with a PhD. He is director of the National Security program at the University of New Haven.
Prof. Asthappan started as an airport bomb defusing technician before being deployed to a classified location after 9/11. After his term, he worked towards a PhD in Justice, Law and Society.
After years of working in the field of cybersecurity the issue became front page news with the Snowden leaks. Now national media was eager to speak with him.
From talking to CBS News about the Boston Marathon Bombing to an Uptown Radio interview about the Fort Hood shooting, Asthappan has learned how to communicate complex issues effectively through his experience with the media.
— U. of New Haven (@UNH) December 16, 2014
“It’s gotten more complex in the sense that now we have a variety of mediums that are being threatened,” Asthappan says about cybersecurity. “I don’t know if Americans are actually keeping up, I hope that they are but I fear it’s only a small percentage that are actually keeping up with this.”
Working With The Media
To do his part in keeping people informed about cybersecurity issues, Asthappan says his top tip in communicating to the media is to keep things simple. “What I try to do is to give simple analogies, but it’s just the method of the attack that’s complex,” he explains. “Some good feedback from reporters that I’ve gotten is that I try to make it understandable and explain it in a variety of different ways to make it more digestible.”
While Ashthappen helps people understand cybersecurity issues through the media, he says that working with the media has helped him examine his approach on his work. “It’s changed my perspective on the type of research that I do,” Asthappan says. “It’s reflective. Any time that I’m through the process of making it more understandable to the general public instead of my students, it makes me wonder, what type of research would be useful to the general public and the field at large?”
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