Maeve Dion talks government cybersecurity on NHPR podcast

Friday, November 8, 2019

Social security number, banking information, driver’s license number—whether to pay a bill, apply for an online service or confirm your identity, chances are, you’ve entered this kind of sensitive data online. Government entities are transforming, leveraging technology to make services more accessible to citizens. While digitalization can provide a more user-friendly experience, how secure is our data on “.gov” websites and apps?

Maeve Dion, UNH assistant professor of security studies, discussed government cybersecurity in New Hampshire on a recent episode of Civics 101, a New Hampshire Public Radio podcast that centers on how our democracy works.

An active researcher and policy writer in the areas of cybersecurity governance and risk management, Dion spoke with host Ben Henry about digital infrastructure and security concerns.

“It’s not like [sensitive] information is in one place where we can lock the door and throw away the key,” Dion said. “That's not ever going to happen, because this is an ongoing effort. We will continually have vulnerabilities being discovered.”

"It’s not like [sensitive] information is in one place where we can lock the door and throw away the key."

Dion specializes in the legal, economic, policy and educational issues relating to critical infrastructure protection, particularly information infrastructure. These issues can be especially complicated when IT or communications services are outsourced to private companies.

Dion said the ever-changing digital landscape requires constant cybersecurity vigilance—not just for information systems but also for control systems.

“As solutions to make our systems more efficient and more effective have risen and been developed, we have added those on in an ad hoc manner to industrial control systems," Dion said, emphasizing the complexity of managing such risks.

Dion pioneered UNH’s fully online graduate program in cybersecurity policy and risk management and teaches in the homeland security bachelor’s degree program. She helped launch the new UNH Center for Cybersecurity Leadership, Education, and Outreach, an NSA/DHS-recognized center of excellence which offers educational programs in cybersecurity as well as external outreach and support to businesses and governments in New Hampshire and beyond.