In honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the National Security Agency is putting the spotlight on some of our top cyber talent. We are kicking it off with Kolade "Yemi" Rotimi who is one of our subject matter experts assigned to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center.
Q: What do you do at the NSA?
A: Currently, I am on a Joint Duty Assignment (JDA) as the Transnational Portfolio Manager at the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC) which falls under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. That basically means that I am the Intelligence Officer covering Critical Infrastructure with regards to cyber threats to the energy sector in the organization charged as the federal lead for intelligence support in response to major cyber incidents.
Q: Why did you choose a career in cyber?
A: I chose a career in cyber mainly because my interest in computer security continues to grow as I move down a technical path. From Wi-Fi, computer hardening, vulnerability assessments, to malicious network and malware analysis, I get a thrill in seeing how the NSA is able to defend against the threats our country faces in cyberspace. It really is an intriguing dynamic where I never get bored learning and understanding the cyber arena. I have the privilege to work alongside brilliant colleagues and counterparts from across the Intelligence Community, who provide a constant flow of information, which help me pick up technical skills and knowledge that would be hard to learn on my own. It's been fun! I still have so much to learn now that more of my interactions are from a whole-of-government assessment perspective because CTIIC is a cross-government effort looking at the cyber threat.
Q: How have you seen the cybersecurity mission evolve since you joined the NSA workforce?
A: The mission has definitely evolved. In NSA's Cybersecurity Operations, analysts tracked adversary tool usage, which included detection and notification, which often just looked at a hacking incident after it happened—but this mission has grown to a far more strategic approach which blends different intelligence sources to defend against and even prevent cyber incidents. This involved going beyond just the "hands-on-the-keyboard" operations and expanding out to adversary tasking, collection requirements, and intent. This is helping us support efforts that are defending the U.S. against cybercrime, critical infrastructure attack, and election interference.
Q: What are your thoughts on the future of cyber?
A: WOW!!! That's a good one, honestly I'm eager to see. Through conversations with former and current colleagues, I predict there will be more of a focus on securing the Internet of Things, considering the technology has become a norm in our daily lives.
Q: And just for fun, what's your happy place?
A: Seeing people happy, and spending time with family and friends. Professionally and personally it's important to me to find my purpose and leave a strong legacy. Also, you can never get enough of Fantasy football throw downs with friends too.
Looking for more information on cybersecurity? Check out NSA’s cybersecurity page, and StopThinkConnect.org.