IT Profile: Don’t Know Zack? An Introduction

ZackMeet Zack, the Information Security Group’s official spokesperson/mascot for all activities and communications for the 2011 National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

We recently caught up with Zack, who is very busy prepping for October, to ask him a few questions.

Q: You recently arrived at Brown. What’s your background?  Were you always interested in computing?

A: I started using computers as a kid, for gaming and graphics design, then Office apps for school and work, web publishing, etc.  Unfortunately my identity was stolen as a result of a very clever phishing attempt a few years ago and I was personally introduced to the dark side of computing.  Learning about hackers and cyber thieves — how easy it’s become to just purchase the tools online to crack passwords or simply buy social security numbers, and the big bucks that are there for the taking — I wanted to understand how to defend myself and help others along the way.

Q. Speaking of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, tell us about your plans for it.

A: Lots going on.  There will be a different theme each week with a related online quiz. I’ll be introducing some currently available tools and giving a sneak peek on others soon to roll out. We’re also having a couple of Brown Bags — on the 13th and 27th — and I’m making an appearance on October 3rd at ISG’s booth at the Campus Safety Resource Fair that Public Safety sponsors every year.

You can get all the details and learn more about my tools and tips on our website,  We sum it all up with the slogan “Avoid the Hack! Get Help from Zack.”

Q: Android or iPhone?

A: Doesn’t matter to me as long as it’s secure.

Q: What would be the most important piece of information security advice that you’d like to share with our readers?

A. Get involved in some of October’s activities.  Come to a Brown Bag if you can (free cookies!); do the weekly quizzes; meet me at the fair on the third and play a game of “Don’t Know Zack?”.  It’s fun, you’ll learn something, and each time you participate in one of the activities you get a chance on winning an iPad2 and other prizes.

Zack in coveralls holding a smartphoneQ: What do you like most about your job?

A: Great people to work with — Brown is a super cool place to be — and a relaxed dress code.

Q. What’s the deal with the blue overalls, anyway?

A. Mascots need to present an image that sums up what they stand for.  Since I’m promoting CIS’s security-related tools, the overalls fit with someone who would carry a toolkit.  As for blue, it just happens to be my favorite color.