S1E6: Researching Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

(Episode 6, click above to listen)


In this episode of the CyberAware Podcast, host Sherwin discusses with guest speaker Nate Johnson the topic of research and cybersecurity vulnerabilities.  Nate is a penetration tester and is a co-host for another podcast series on YouTube called the Irongeek Cast.

Nate delves into his undergraduate research topic, which was proximity radio frequency identification (RFID) in card reader lock systems. For example, the technology that is used with Mav Cards. He also researched the security flaws and the encryption within card reader lock systems using open source coding. Nate then lays out a comparison between RFID and NFC (Near Field Communication) and how variable band frequencies play a major role in these systems. Nate also shares with Sherwin his study abroad experience in the Netherlands and how NFC is very common there, ranging from identification to payments at almost every location. Nate moves on to talk more about his current research, giving insight on security tactics used to prevent physical bypass on RFID and NFC card reader lock systems. Nate illustrates his experience as a penetration tester and he sheds more light on faculty and student research on cybersecurity.

Interestingly, Nate and Sherwin then pivot the conversation to discuss the latest Pentagon speculated UFO sightings and go on to imagine the security methods that could have been used to evade radar spotters. Nate then shares his public presentation experience in front of industry professionals, explaining how having expertise in recent advancements can even sometimes give you an edge over someone who has decades of experience in the industry. Finally, he suggests to incoming students some important coursework for pursuing cybersecurity from a Minnesota State University, Mankato alumni’s point of view.