Phoenix TS IT Security Blog

The Latest Developments & More on Information Security Around the World

Business Gets Personal with Phoenix TS in New York City

business gets personalNovember 13th 2014

Last October I was fortunate enough to take a short trip north to New York City for the “Business Gets Personal” seminar with industry experts Dave Ramsey, Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk.

These individuals are well respected personal finance, marketing and social media thought leaders.

Their talks provided a different perspective on how to better communicate, connect with, and serve the students at Phoenix TS. Also, like many of our students, I took advantage of an opportunity to listen and learn. Here are a few things I took away from the event. (more…)

FITSI Names Phoenix TS New Authorized Training Center!

FITSP IT security Certification for Federal GovernmentNovember 13th 2014

We are proud to announce that we are officially the latest FITSI authorized training center!

FITSI stands for the Federal IT Security Institute, a nonprofit organization tasked with managing and organizing a unique certification program geared solely to the Federal workforce. It is no surprise that the US Federal government operates under it’s own standards and best practices; the real shock is that no IT security certification program is geared solely to government operation procedures. FITSI will change that.

Former NSA Chief brings IronNet to Howard County

November 11th 2014


Former Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) announced that he will move his business into our backyard. General Keith Alexander decided to set up shop in Howard County, Maryland. The scheduled completion for the move is this spring.

Howard County now has to be considered a nationwide powerhouse when it comes to cyber security. With multiple training facilities, nearby Fort Meade, APL, Cisco, and Oracle all in the surrounding  area, it is hard to dispute this Maryland is atop the leader board when it comes to cyber security.

General Alexander brings IronNet to Howard County, a company that provides offensive and defensive cyber security measures and comprehensive cyber security solutions. Since IronNet will become our new neighbors, let’s take a closer look at what they bring to the table. (more…)

Open Source World Opens Doors for Tech Jobs

Come on in we're open source

Flickr photo by Timothy Appnel

November 10th 2014

How are tech companies, universities and high school educators building the technical workforce here in the U.S.?

The demand for tech related jobs continues to grow, but the demand outpaces the experienced and capable workforce available, especially in Maryland.

If young graduates (high school or college) have the skills and degree, they may not hold the minimal or moderate experience employers desire. Employers will endure the wait for the right candidates who fit their requirements.


The Difference between RMF and CAP

CaptureNovember 3rd, 2014

There are several differences between CAP and RMF.  While teaching these classes, I identified three major areas that require extra attention.

Authorization Decisions

The Interim Authority to Operate (IATO) is no longer used once an organization transitions from DIACAP to RMF.  This appears to be a way to streamline the authorization process by eliminating one of the possible accreditation scenarios.  It may also be an effort to close a “loophole” whereby some systems have remained in IATO status for an extended period.  I heard stories from students about IATO systems that have been in production for several years at a time even though they have not been issued an ATO.

Those people familiar with the DIACAP C&A process are accustomed to requesting an Interim Authorization to Test (IATT) so that they can connect their system to the LAN for testing.  This testing period typically lasts for 60 days.  Any security issues identified during the IATT should be remediated before seeking an Authorization to Operate (ATO).   This IATT decision effectively removes the less rigid constraints of the IATO, thereby tightening the overall authorization process. (more…)

Howard County Students Train to Meet the Growing Cyber Security Demand

September 23rd, 2014 

Twenty Howard County high school students found themselves on a field trip last Wednesday that brought them to the Phoenix TS training center. Upon arrival the students, or should I say young cyber warriors, were greeted by the co-founder and CEO of Phoenix TS, Firoozeh Azarbaidjani-Do.

Accompanying the students on their trip were Howard County Public School System Deputy Superintendent Linda T. Wise and Howard County Board of Education member Sandra French.

After being greeted, the students, Superintendent Wise and Board member French were brought to a classroom where they received a lesson in cryptography and cyber encryption. The class was taught by Claude Williams, expert cyber security instructor. Claude taught the students several encryption techniques and the history of encryption from Egyptian hieroglyphics to the Spartans and more modern forms of encryption methods.

Once the class finished the students were each presented with a certificate of recognition for their first-hand training.

You can see Williams explain the difference between symmetric and asymmetric cryptography below: (more…)

The Impact of the iCloud Breach on Password Mangement

iCloud BreachSeptember 17th, 2014

In light of the exposed iCloud hack, it’s an appropriate time to readdress password management online. If you have yet to take password management more seriously since the revelation of the Heartbleed virus and multiple other breaches, it’s about time you take control.

Managing access to online accounts will not ensure total security against malicious hackers, but it’s the first line of defense against intrusions. One roadblock is better than none at all. Let’s quickly revisit creating passwords, storing them, and the other avenues that bypass password access such as security questions. (more…)

edX’s Intro to Linux Course Gains Ground with Meetup Groups

Linux CommunitySeptember 16th, 2014

The new edX Introduction to Linux course sparked a remarkable stir within the tech community. A course, offered by the Linux Foundation for $2,400, is now available for free. Countless people signed up for the free online course.

Despite the immediate enthusiasm, skeptics point to the low retention rates and other issues prevalent with MOOC courses available through Coursera, Udacity and edX.

How do you attempt to attack these MOOC weaknesses? Take a look at the Charm City Linux meetup group in Baltimore, MD. They provide a setting for Linux users of varying experience levels to come, study, and learn from one another as they tackle the course.


“New” Features of the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch

 September 15, 2014iPhone-6-nfc-feature

The iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch have most likely been blowing up your Facebook and Twitter news feeds, and it will most likely only get worse when the devices are actually available for purchase.

The iPhone 6 unlike any other smartphone I have seen is available in two different sizes. The nice thing about this is that if you like a smaller phone you have the option between a 4.7, or 5.5 inch screen.

Besides that though I, along with many others are struggling to figure out what is so new about what Apple has done. If they think that they are the first people to come up with a smartphone with these capabilities they may have been sleeping under a rock.


Create Smartphone Amnesia with Avira Antivirus App

Avira Antivirus Security

September 10th, 2014

Past blog posts highlight the rising prevalence in mobile malware. As people continue to use mobile devices (tablets, smartphones) we cannot overlook the importance of protection. Data breaches continue to pile up, people grow concerned, but they must not take the lazy route by simply ignoring cyber security.

Download and install the Avira Antivirus for Android or Apple devices. The app is free and easy to use with multiple convenient security features.  (more…)