Kaspersky Academy continues its project “Five minutes with…” that will see our partners and renowned university professors answering the Academy’s questions. The next interlocutor is Gevorg Margarov, PhD, Head of Information Security and Software Development Department, State Engineering University of Armenia (Polytechnic). The scope of his current scientific interests includes Architecture of Computer Systems and Complexes, Organization and Management of Information Security Systems, Digital Steganography, Applied Cryptography, E-learning and Knowledge Assessment Tools. Gevorg has over 180 scientific publications. He has served on the program committee of the 2014 “Student Conference CyberSecurity for the Next Generation” Final Round.
1) Some people involved in the academic sphere claim that IT security is not a science that can or should be taught by universities. How would you respond to them?
In my opinion, they are completely wrong. Major international scientific conferences on education in computer science always include specialized sections on information security and the academic world is paying more attention to this every year. Discussions don’t also deal with deeper and broader integration of IT security disciplines into educational programs but also look at the problems preparing specialized university programs for Bachelors and Masters degrees in Information Security. There is also active promotion – and good grounds – for the idea of incorporating the principles of information security into other educational programs in the sciences and humanities. Essentially it is about making basic information security a general discipline in both higher and secondary education.
2) Who is most interested in enhancing knowledge in areas such as IT security? All branches of government? Intelligence services? Business? Science? Members of the general public? Legal authorities?
Information technology today is used very actively in almost all areas of our lives. This means a broader interest in the study and teaching of information security is relevant to the whole of society. It is not merely a matter of national or economic security, it’s a question of personal safety.
3) Is it true that he who rules information, rules the world?
In the broadest sense, this is a true statement which is not only difficult but often silly to dispute.
4) In the 18th century the doctrine “Back to nature!” was born, calling on mankind to reject technological progress… Is life without computers, cell phones and the Internet possible in the 21st century?
The tempting cry of “Back to nature!” has, since its proclamation, unfortunately attracted less and less support. In the 21st century it is almost impossible to imagine life without computers, cell phones and the Internet. Theoretically it is possible and you can imagine living without all these benefits of modern civilization. The only question is whether this can be called a full life in the 21st century?
5) Science fiction writers predicted planes, submarines, atomic bombs and video phones – but none of them predicted the appearance of the Internet. What is the reason for that?
The fact is that the Internet in its modern sense is a product (often not deliberate) developed by the whole community and science fiction writers would struggle to predict such a mass of collective creativity which led to a single result.
6) What do you think of predictions that soon the most effective – and therefore only – way to wage war will be to hack the enemy’s computer networks, while tanks, missiles and aircraft carriers will become museum exhibits?
Unfortunately, it is most unlikely that tanks, guns, aircraft carriers and other weapons will become “museum exhibits” in the near future but it is clear that hacking and targeting relevant computer management and coordination networks can significantly reduce their combat effectiveness. In this sense, while IT-based warfare may not be the only way to wage war, it could become a defining advantage in a conflict.
7) If a Nobel Prize was also awarded for IT security, who would be the first winner
For technological achievements, Eugene Kaspersky (with his team of experts), and for academic advances, Bruce Schneier.