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Security execs voice concern over Trump travel ban

Maria Korolov | Feb. 1, 2017
Senior security industry professionals weigh in on the implications of the travel ban imposed this weekend by President Trump

Even employees who are already in the United States will be affected, since they won't be able to leave the country on work-related assignments -- or for any other reason -- until the situation is resolved, and neither will their family members.

"I hope that this immigration ban is only temporary and most of the companies impacted can work through and around this," said James Carder, CISO at Boulder, Colo.-based cybersecurity firm LogRhythm, Inc. and VP of LogRhythm Labs.

"However, I don’t know what’s next and if there is a short-term end in sight. Will it just be 90 days or will it be much longer?"

The travel ban may may also have a more insidious long-term effect on recruiting. The cybersecurity industry already has a massive talent shortage, Carder said.

"Would you want to go work for a company, based in the U.S., that sees you as a threat, an enemy, or a terrorist?" he asked. "I would likely take my advanced degree and training to Canada, or somewhere else, where I’m viewed for my skills and not by where I’m from nor my religion."

Cybersecurity is a global community, said Jeff Williams, CTO at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Contrast Security. "Most of the bug bounty security researchers are from foreign countries," he said.

"Many cyber companies are started by foreign nationals. And most security teams at major companies are staffed with people from all over the world. And the cybersecurity programs in our colleges and universities are flooded with immigrants. Basically, until now, the US has been the beneficiary of the global cybersecurity brain drain."

If the U.S. shuts its doors, all that will change, he said.

"It’s the height of irony that we are closing off the human resource supply chain in an effort to secure our borders," he said.

Hurt global cooperation

One common tactic used to catch international criminals is to lure to them to the United States, said LogRhythm's Carder.

"If you are a cybercriminal and your country is listed as one of the seven countries banned, you will not be lured over to the U.S. any time soon," he said.

Plus, the international nature of cybercrime also requires a great deal of cooperation between nations.

The relationship with the seven banned countries will obviously be damaged first.

"If those countries were willing to work with the U.S. government before in prosecuting international cyber criminals, they may not do so now that we’ve cast them as enemies," he said. "I also wouldn’t be surprised if their governing of what constitutes cybercrime against the U.S. loosens up after this."

But relationships with other countries may sour as well -- not only in other Muslim countries, but also those in Asia and Europe.


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