September 17, 2007 Rotogram

SECRETARY OF STATE TO SPEAK

Today we’re pleased to welcome Mississippi Secretary of State Eric Clark, who is completing his third term of service in that office.

ARMORED VEHICLES FOR IRAQ

Armored vehicles to protect our troops in Iraq from the deadly roadside bombs are being assembled in the Golden Triangle. Come next Monday to learn about this new industry when our guest will be Glenn Dennis of Griffin Armor’s West Point plant.

LAST WEEK AT ROTARY

Invocation and Pledge : Jim Orman.

Attendance : There were 131 members (89 actives, 40 exempt, 2 honorary) present. Missing were 46 active, 14 exempt, and 8 honorary members.

Visitors and Guests : Visiting Rotarian was Eddie Longstreet of West Point. Michael Speed was guest of Tommy Prentice. Club guests were RYE Students Maryna Melnik and Negrita Caicedo; Brother Rogers of the Scout Council; and Skip Descant, Columbus Dispatch..

New Member : Welcomed to her first meeting as a member of Starkville Rotary Club was Lynne Richardson, Dean of the College of Business and Industry. She is a former member of the Rotary Club of Muncie, Indiana.

Makeups : Roy Ruby made up Aug. 23 in West Point.

Classification Talk : Robert L. “Bobby” Eiland, one of our newest members, told Rotarians a bit about himself. The new Headmaster of Starkville Academy grew up on a farm near Drew. His wife, Lynn, is from Sturgis. They have son who is a junior at Starkville Academy and a daughter who is a junior at MSU – “we all bleed maroon,” he said.

While attending MSU, he helped coach at Starkville Academy. After graduating with a degree in aquaculture, he went back to the Delta to manage a 2,000-acre catfish farm. It didn’t take him long to determine that wasn’t a career he wanted to pursue. He enrolled at Delta State, then came to Starkville when offered a coaching post at SA. He worked on his Masters in Education at MSU. In order to complete requirements for his degree and teaching certification, he joined the New Hope school system where he taught for 18 years. He didn’t hesitate when offered the opportunity to return to Starkville Academy earlier this year.

“The third time is a charm. We’re happy to be in Starkville and I’m happy to be a part of Rotary and the opportunities for service,” he concluded.

Rotary Minute : Briar Jones actually held his Rotary Minute to little more than a minute to thank those who helped in the Get Swept Up campaign. He pointed out that the Club’s next community service projects would be helping build a Habitat house and ringing the Salvation Army bells in December.

Roy Ruby’s “nothing to do about Rotary” minute produced the usual result – hearty laughter!

Meeting Notes : President Ned Browning held up a handful of recent issues of Starkville Daily News featuring Rotarians and Rotary activities. “I’m proud to be a part of such an active club,” he said.

He issued congratulations to Martin Jue, who celebrated the 35 th anniversary of MFJ Industries, which is now the world’s largest manufacturer of ham radio accessary equipment. Ham radio enthusiasts and industry representatives from throughout the U.S. joined the celebration. Many of Martin’s friends from Starkville and across the state got their first behind the scenes look at his incredibly successful industry.

Ned reminded officers and directors of the September 11 th Board meeting. Following adjournment meetings of the Fall Social and Dictionary Project Committees were held.

BSA Troop 14 Report : President Ned Browning presented a check supporting Scout Troop 14 activities to Brother Rogers and Parry Sellers. Scoutmaster Sellers gave a brief report of Troop 14 activities. He said 38 scouts attended summer camp and earned 135 merit badges. They held campouts at Alabama’s DeSoto Caverns and Lowndes County’s Brown Creek. Next event will be a gourmet dinner at Robinson Lake, prepared by the Scouts for their parents.

Eagle Scout John Guyton (son of Rotarian Mark) was featured in Boys’ Life Magazine for his heroism award. You can see a copy of this at the head table.

BIRTHDAYS IN SEPTEMBER

Only a handful of Rotarians were born in September. Those with birthdays this month are John Crecink, Sarah Fratesi, Susan Gamel, Dinah Jordan, Hank Moseley, Don Norman, Chuck Rivenburgh, and Don Zacharias.

MSU LEADS IN COMPUTER SECURITY EFFORTS

Ray Vaughn’s interesting and informative discussion of computer security may be best described as one of those “good news – bad news” revelations. The bad news is that today’s computer technology and the internet greatly increase our nation’s vulnerability to terrorism. The good news is that Mississippi State is playing a national leadership role in major research and teaching to detect and solve computer security problems.

The Director of the MSU Center for Computer Security and Research said the university began working on computer security in 1998 and was the first in the nation to be certified by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. The Center was established in 2001 and the Forensics Training Center was established in 2005.

Security problems have increased hand in hand with technological developments. SPAM is up 161 percent over last year and fully 94 percent of email on the internet is unwanted SPAM. In the past year, one in five computers had a costly virus, 850,000 computers had to be replaced because of spyware, and “phishing” is increasing at the rate of 25,000 per month, according to Vaughn. A majority of these attacks originate overseas.

Because of its certification status and its expertise, the MSU Center is fully funded though federal and industry grants. “No state taxpayer dollars are required,” he said.

Adequate funding permits the Center to offer very generous scholarships to qualified undergraduate and graduate students who are trained to become highly skilled in computer security. “We give them full tuition and fees, textbooks, travel expenses, and even pay them salaries ranging from $13,000 to $18,000 for 9 months. We give them a computer and they must serve an internship with the government,” he explained.

He said that the nation’s infrastructure is now controlled by computer systems that today are linked to the internet. Seventeen critical infrastructure sectors have been identified that are highly vulnerable to hackers and potential terrorist attack. A Critical Infrastructure Protection Center works directly with the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security.

The Center for Computer Security Research is multi-disciplinary involving 13 faculty in 3 colleges and an outreach program involving four other colleges and universities, plus industries and the military. There are currently 22 students on full-ride scholarships. Nearly 100 graduate degrees have been awarded.

Vaughn described how a computer system that controlled a municipal water system in Pennsylvania was breached several years ago. The event happened on a weekend and the employee on duty noticed that something was happening on the computer. He didn’t recognize it as a problem and failed to report it until the following Thursday. Local police had no expertise so more than a week passed before the FBI was notified. The security had been breached from a foreign source, but fortunately nothing serious happened. It pointed to the system’s vulnerability and the potential for serious problems if the attack had been initiated by a terrorist.

He cited several other examples of potentially critical security failures – one that shut down a nuclear plant for 5 hours, another shut down a gas pipeline.

A survey in 2004 revealed the extent of “cybercrime” with no defense. The Forensics Training Center (FTC) was established with $3.5 federal funding to train police, judges, and other first responders on recognizing cybercrime and procedures to follow in the event of breaches of computer systems security. Working in collaboration with the Mississippi Attorney General’s office and the Ole Miss law school, the FTC has trained 969 law officers (578 from Mississippi) in just the past 18-20 months .

The funding enables FTC to provide the training at no cost to participants. “We’ve also been able to supply data and recovery equipment to forensic labs established in five Mississippi counties,” Vaughn said. Additional counties have been identified for forensic labs in the near future. He showed pictures of clever ways thumb drives are being disguised by hackers and other illegitimate users to avoid detection by law enforcement officers, who are now trained to recognize such external storage devices.

The University’s newest computer security unit is the Mississippi Cybercrime Center in Jackson. It occupies the entire 17 th floor of the Sillers Building across from the State Capitol and includes well-equipped training rooms, a library, and evidence lockers. “It’s the only one I’m aware of that is jointly operated by state and federal governments, local police, and a major university,” he said.

In response to several questions, Vaughn said all local law enforcement agencies (Starkville and MSU Police Departments and Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department) have received cybercrime training.

There have been many cybercrime attempts on computer systems – any system attached to the internet is vulnerable. Most common cybercrimes are phishing, spyware, and malicious codes.

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