The Dark Web Comes to Light

Longtime professional cyber good guy Warren Holston illuminated the subject of The Dark Web for approximately 60 eager and attentive students, staff and faculty at our newest cyber hub, NOVA’s Reston Center. The event, organized by Professors Babur Kohy and Henok Asfaw and supported by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) Young Professionals of the Greater Washington, DC area, drew interest beyond capacity.

Featured presenter Warren Holston, executive VP at industry powerhouse Creative Radicals and author of “Beware the Predator”, led a detailed and fascinating introduction to the world of the dark web, drawing distinctions between the “surface web”, that which is searchable with Google and other conventional search engines, from the “deep web”, those things that a conventional search cannot find, and the “dark web” as inaccessible with conventional search engines and deliberately concealed, most often for nefarious purposes. Explanations of entities such as the Tor browser (caution: if you are reading this and are not interested in unwanted scrutiny, it’s best just to leave this browser alone and not try it at home or office) and encrypted apps such as Signal and What’s App and their use for passing information was fascinating.

As a career Technical Operations Officer, Warren has worked throughout the Intelligence Community, Department of Defense, and defense industry for more than 30years.

He served as a U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Diver, a collection officer and senior manager in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and a Subject Matter Expert in manhunting for the Department of Defense U.S. Special Operations Command. Warren managed and conducted counterterrorism, covert action, and technical collection operations worldwide.

NOVA Board Chair Todd Rowley, himself a NOVA Cyber student in the audience for the event, shared “These lectures by industry experts are great and add exceptional real-world perspectives and content to significantly augment the class lectures. The room was packed, the audience’s attention was focused and their questions to the speaker were thoughtful!”

Current NOVA cyber students including NOVA Board Chair Todd Rowley (on the right).

Organizer Babur Kohy reported “our plan is to have at least one workshop a month; a cyber night event with ISACA each semester and soon “NOVACON,” a day-long security conference this summer with speakers, demonstrations, vendors, employers and more cool stuff.

The next cyber event will be a Password Cracking Workshop at the Reston Center on Saturday, March 24. It is open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis – space is limited to 40 participants, registration is required and attendees much show confirmation of registration. Information and registration for these NOVA cyber events can be found on Professor Kohy’s website

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