Randy Vickers, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for the United States House of Representatives, hosted January 17th’s Pizza My Mind. Randy Vickers is a former DOD employee who works to prevent breaches on the representatives systems and to protect the entire network from potential security risks. Vickers and his team are responsible for the technical security of all members of the House of Representatives as well as their shared infrastructure.
Unlike most security jobs, Representatives within the security team have a right to privacy on a much higher level than a standard employee. In order to take data outside of the building or work remotely, permission must be acquired specifically from the relevant representative. This is a layer of complexity most security jobs do not require.
The most notable challenge is the maintaining of the right of petition. Anyone has the right to address their representative through email. This creates a large number of emails that must be monitored to prevent malicious code from getting through. For example, when the emails are gathered and sorted, they must be prevent attempts to access data. If malicious code is missed or if a representative opens something hazardous to the network, then the email or file is quarantined and the file is blocked by the firewall. In more extreme cases, the computer will be temporarily taken off of the network.
A map (will be pictured below) that is used to track activity on the relevant computers was shown. While the jagged lines appear to be nonsensical at first glance, the patterns of high activity can easily be seen in different colors. This helps detect where possible dangerous sources may be originating from.
Vickers gives an interesting perspective on the inner workings of his response team and the struggles they must deal with to keep the House of Representatives running. This is the first chance most students have had in understanding how the back end security teams works. If this interests you, then it will be beneficial to ask future employers about their government contracts and whether or not they are able to connect you with work at the House of Representatives. The vast majority of their positions are contracted to other companies so this is the best way to approach this opportunity.
No paid internships exist at the moment but unpaid internships do exist if you live in the D.C. area. You can also visit their office individually if you would like to learn more.
Follow the link below to see the site for House of Representatives.