Securing The Future: How Sheridan alumni are making the cyber world a better place | The story behind Canada’s first cyber security degree | #itsecurity | #infosec

Alana Staszczyszyn

(Bachelor of Applied Information Sciences ’19)

Quantum Computing Security Researcher

During her four years as a penetration tester at Security Compass, Alana Staszczyszyn saw countless issues that might have been avoided if classical computer systems hadn’t been built with security flaws. Now, as quantum computers capable of quickly solving complex issues — including the potential to crack most types of encrpytion used today — inch closer and closer to the mainstream market, she’s determined to help ensure history doesn’t repeat itself.

Staszczyszyn recently set out on an independent research project to explore past vulnerabilities in networks and devices and how they may pertain to five emerging technologies that will support quantum computing: 5G, cloud computing, internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain. “If there are inherent flaws in the architecture, those flaws will just propagate into more issues as that architecture matures,” she says. “I want to help fix this now, so that our industry doesn’t burn out having to fix things in the future.”

Building a secure quantum computing infrastructure, Staszczyszyn says, will require an all-hands-on-deck approach. “It’s well-known in the cyber security industry that there’s a big gap between the private and public sectors, largely because the private sector isn’t as restricted when it comes to investing capital into research,” she says. “I want to merge everyone’s efforts and also pull in any academic initiatives that are already looking into these issues at more granular or technical levels.”

Less than five years into her career, Staszczyszyn has been featured by several leading media outlets, including The Globe and Mail and the CBC, as a leading cyber security expert and a woman working in a traditionally male-dominated bastion. “If I had to tell (women interested in cyber security) anything,” the Etobicoke School of the Arts high school graduate told the CBC in 2019, “it’s that there’s room for every single talent in this industry.”

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