A brief technology primer for Donald Trump

Bob Covello shares some advice with the US President-Elect.

Bob covello
Bob Covello

A brief technology primer for Donald Trump

Mr. President-Elect:

Congratulations on your victory.

I noticed during your campaign that you are not as well-versed in technology as you could be, so in an effort of charitable patriotism, please allow me to offer this primer so you may step into your new position a bit more technologically prepared.

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  1. “The” Cyber

    You have referred to “The Cyber” on more than one occasion. Respectfully, this is incorrect, and should be eliminated from your vernacular. There are many discussions about the origin of the word cyber, however, one thing that all seem to agree on is that “cyber” is a prefix, for example: cybersecurity, cyberspace, cyberbullying, cybercrime.

    I think you get the point. We, the people, were never able to clear up the mispronunciation of “nuclear” during a previous administration, so I hope that this early indicator of an easily corrected fault can put this to rest.

  2. TAR

    Tar is fabulous for repairing much of the infrastructure that you have promised to upgrade. TAR is also an acronym for “Technology Assisted Review”. A simpler way to describe this is the ability to search through a large volume of data (including emails) in a very short time. If you think about how many files reside on a typical computer (more than 600,000) and then think about how quickly each one can be scanned for a virus signature, it is easy to conceptualize the speed at which a search of an email may be conducted.

  3. Email

    One particular email controversy was a significant source of discussion and interest during the campaign. Now that you will be subject to the same type of secure E-Mail system used by all Federal employees in classified positions, please remind yourself every day of the permanence of electronic messages, and, no matter how frustrating it is to practice good security, it is important to never sidestep those controls for the inviting siren song of “convenience”.

  4. Encryption

    Think of encryption the same way that you would think of a ski mask. A ski mask can keep your face nice and warm on a windy ski slope. A ski mask can also be used to conceal one’s face when robbing a bank. The solution is not to banish all ski masks. Nor is the solution to create a special “ski unmasker” to which only the government holds the code. Remember that the same encryption that protects government secrets also protects your constituents’ privacy.

I don’t comment publicly about my political views, so this is not in any way to be construed in that sense. I wish you well on your new responsibilities, Mr. President, and I hope this short primer serves to better prepare you with the enormous task ahead.

Yours sincerely,
Bob Covello

Bob Covello (@BobCovello) is a 20-year technology veteran and InfoSec analyst with a passion for security topics. He is also a volunteer for various organizations focused on advocating for and advising others about staying safe and secure online.

5 comments on “A brief technology primer for Donald Trump”

  1. Phil Potts

    "I don’t comment publicly about my political views"

    Looks like you just did.

    The "email controversy" was not that a Federal employee practiced poor security. The employee committed numerous felonies by storing classified information on a personal email server.

    But – you already knew that.

    1. coyote · in reply to Phil Potts

      No he didn't. Did he give any view on his beliefs? His way of life? Who he agrees with politically? No he didn't; he only explained certain terms. That or he's speaking in some funny language…

  2. Mark Z

    What is your defnition of Condescending?

  3. coyote

    'the same type of secure E-Mail system'

    That's an oxymoron esp when it comes to governments including a government which has been compromised by script kiddies countless times over decades and then hypocritically whines like poor innocent victims (who are anything but innocent) when they are compromised by bad actors (as if they don't do the same thing)…

    As for a ski mask. That makes me laugh because (as the BBC and other outlets reported, see www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-us-2016-37782389 ) of the story where he stormed out like a little child when his now ex-wife outdid him in skiing:

    'As part of his research, Mr D'Antonio also spoke to Mr Trump's ex-wife Ivana. She told him a story about a skiing trip they took in Colorado soon after they began dating.

    Mr Trump, who was unaware that Ivana was a confident skier, went down a slope and called for his girlfriend to follow him, saying: "Come on, baby. Come on, baby."

    "I went up. I went two flips up in the air, two flips in front of him. I disappeared," Ivana tells the journalist.

    "Donald was so angry, he took off his skis, his ski boots, and walked up to the restaurant. He could not take it. He could not take it."'

  4. scanforsecurity.com

    Politics are not technical specialists and they don't need to go deep into security details, for such cases they must have professionals in their team. The case with Hillary shows that yes, some basics they MUST understand, but through, that is for work for real specialists.

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