Public Affairs

AUK’s RISE Center Explores Nation State Cyber-Hacking

18th Nov 2019 | by the Office of Public Affairs

Under the umbrella of its lecture series, the Center for Research in Informatics, Sciences, and Engineering (RISE) at the American University of Kuwait (AUK) hosted its first lecture of this academic year titled Nation State Cyber-Hacking: Looking Backwards to Light the Path Forward, presented by Mr. Guillermo Christensen, a U.S. cybersecurity expert. Attended by the AUK community, as well as other students, media representatives, and the general public, the talk explored several key security concepts, including reasonable security, industrial espionage, and data governance.

Mr. Christensen started with the history of cyber-hacking which dates back to August 1914 and the onset of World War I when Britain cut German’s cable communications with the outside world. This strategic act allowed Britain to intercept the Zimmerman Telegram sent by Germans to their embassy in Mexico, and it thus became known as the first milestone in information warfare in the modern world. 

Throughout his talk, Mr. Christensen warned about the looming threat of unprotected network entries, supply chain hacks, and insider threats. The speaker also drew attention to the causal link between data warfare and the susceptibility of the affected geo regions in being more prone to conflict in general. Essentially, cybersecurity is primarily about people, and it remains vital for both individuals and companies to always know the value of their information.  

Commenting on the audience engagement during the lecture, Mr. Christensen said, “I was very impressed with the strong interest that so many students showed in the topic of cybersecurity. I really enjoyed the opportunity to have a great dialogue and questions from AUK students.”

Dr. Amir Zeid, the Dean of the AUK College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, expressed RISE’s privilege in hosting Mr. Christensen when stating: “Our international lecture series is one of the main venues we use to realize our vision. This year we have chosen to commence our Lecture Series with yet another inspiring talk that touches the lives of many in Kuwait. It is a pleasure to see this variety of audience attending today’s event.” Dr. Zeid especially thanked the Embassy of United States of America in Kuwait, which co-organized the lecture. 

Mr. Guillermo Christensen is a partner in Ice Miller’s Data Security and Privacy and White Collar Defense Groups, where he focuses on enterprise risks involving cybersecurity and national security law. His cybersecurity experience ranges from conducting information security risk assessments that take a “whole of company” approach to managing responses to security incidents and breaches, including those where a nation-state or insider threat may be involved. Previously, Mr. Christensen worked at international law firms, advising multinational corporations on risks involving cybersecurity. He was also a CIA intelligence officer and a diplomat with the U.S. State Department, and served in a policy role as the Science and Technology Advisor to the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

About RISE
The AUK Center for Research in Informatics, Sciences, and Engineering (RISE) serves as AUK's primary source for multidisciplinary research and development (R&D) activities. The Center employs a holistic approach to R&D by integrating academic disciplines, and forging connections between local & international innovators, academia & industry, and technology & society.

Mr. Guillermo Christensen during his lecture

General photo of the lecture

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