Well blow me down, me hearties!
Aye and well met! It’s your Mistress of Madness on the Whimsical Herald! All hand hoy for our most intriguing and informative author interview to date. Our fascinating guest is sought after cyber security expert Emilio Iasiello, and he will be climbing Jacob’s ladder to join our company and regale us with his latest release, ’THE WEB PAIGE CHRONICLES’. This renowned guru of Cyberspace has been instrumental in protecting companies, institutions and individuals from Cyber Pirates for decades. He brings his insider knowledge to the younger set in his original, humorous, thought provoking and immensely entertaining new release!
“A STRANGE NICKNAME, A THIRST FOR TECHNOLOGY, AND A WILL TO PAY HER GIFTS FORWARD BY HELPING OTHERS WILL PROPEL THIS YOUNG WILLY INTO A LEARNING CURVE SHE COULD NEVER HAVE IMAGINED!”
WILHELMINA EVANGELINE BEATRIZ PAIGE, KNOWN AS ‘WEB’ has been fascinated with computers from an early age. Not only is she tech proficient, but she has become increasingly aware that there is danger lurking in the cyber universe, and that she and her friends are particularly vulnerable. This coming of age story is packed with valuable insights and information for readers in middle grade on up as Web helps them troubleshoot their problems.
Confused, Mr. Ransom looks at my father who smiles and laughs.
“Clients? Is that what I am?”
“Cyber Oracle. At your service,” I say, handing him a business card.
“Well how about that,” Mr. Ransom says.
“Crazy isn’t it? My daughter’s changing the world, one internet user at a time.”
PRAISE FOR THE WEB PAIGE CHRONICLES: "Web Paige Chronicles offers a refreshing and empowering role model for young adults. By eschewing this iGeneration’s stereotypical malaise in favor of positive curiosity with technology, Iasiello folds practical cybersecurity guidance into a relatable story." -Scott Schober, author of Hacked Again
Emilio Iasiello is a cyber-security expert who has written a modern and realistic coming-of-age book that either boys or girls will enjoy. It helps them learn to deal with such modern problems as cyber bullying, hacking, sexting, online predators and more. Though the main characters are junior high aged, older readers will enjoy this quick read, and learn a great deal about safely negotiating modern technology. Highly recommended for schools and parents to share with their tweens and teens--or their cyber-leery friends.
Wilhelmina Evangeline Beatriz Paige is better known as “Web” to her friends because of her seemingly endless knowledge of computers. Always eager to lend a hand, she takes pride in helping the “technically-challenged” in her neighborhood as part of her “pay-it-forward” philosophy. But when her closest friends become the targets of cyber bullying and online predators, Web realizes that safely navigating the Internet is more than just using strong passwords and antivirus protection. By helping those who can’t help themselves, Web embarks on a journey through which she learns things from not only her friends, but also strangers, adults, and most importantly, herself.
1. Why did you decide to target a Midgrade audience for this informative and entertaining read?
I’ve been wanting to write a kid’s book since my daughter was born (she was my first child). The challenge has always been to decide what I wanted to write about. By the time I figured that out, she was already three years old. So my goal was to get a book published in time for her to be able to read it.
For the last twenty years, my two passions have been writing and cyber security. Watching the news about online predators and cyber bullying and the challenges kids are faced with technology, I knew I had found the perfect fusion of my two passions. Kids, especially at the midgrade level, are becoming increasingly more capable with technology than some of their parents. Once that was decided, it was all about creating a main character who was accessible and familiar.
2. Your charming character Willy, or “Web” has many admirable character qualities-which ones are the most important in your opinion?
I find empathy to be an extremely important attribute and is something that I try to instill in my children. It’s a powerful connector because emotions are shared by everyone at all ages. I also find Web’s curiosity to be completely engaging. Following your intellectual curiosity develops creativity, exposes a person to new ideas, facilitates open discourse about topics, and improves self-awareness. Finally, the fact that she’s family-oriented and loyal to her friends are important traits to me.
3. Cyber bullying and online predators are a dark element in the Web universe. What can concerned parents and other adults do to keep kids protected?
A few years ago, a former colleague of mine showed me a site where middle school and high school kids in her school district congregated and used the online forum to spread rumor, gossip, and say unkind things to one another. I was appalled by this. Factor in the numerous “unknowns” of the Internet and the people that prowl there, and I knew that safety education had to start on the family level. The book details precautions that all kids and adults should follow based on incidents that actually happen in real life. Some of these precautions include choosing gender-neutral screen names, never revealing personal information to anyone online, don’t post photos whose locations can be easily identified, and never ever agree to meet someone you met online.
4. What did you teach your own children about surfing the Web?
I am now just starting that process. But first and foremost is communicating to my children about what the Internet is, how it works, highlighting its advantages and threats. It’s very important to help them develop a strong situational awareness and understanding of the online environment. Coupled with this is treating the technology with respect. Due to the complicated nature of the Internet, teaching children about acting responsibly online is about creating educational and security-related building blocks to enable them to be more confident when they surf the web.
5. You are a cyber security expert, inventor, and CEO of a top notch security firm. If you could sum up your personal mission in one sentence, what would it be?
Let me first say that I’m not the CEO but work for as a senior intelligence analyst for a private computer security company, although I have independently consulted on the side. I’m still working my way up the corporate ladder. My personal mission statement can best be summed up as: “To promote responsible online behavior with today’s youth through education, encouragement, and guidance.”
6. How does it feel to get hacked?
You feel violated and helpless. A complete stranger has just invaded your personal space and looked through and/or taken the most personal and sensitive information that you have. Worse, in most of these cases, as a victim, there is little you can do about it. And now you have to invest considerable time, effort, and money reaching out to credit bureaus, financial institutions, social media, friends, family, to let them know what happened and to begin remediation efforts. Every day in the news, there is a new story about an organization being breached exposing millions of users’ data to hostile actors. In these instances where the individual has no culpability in hack, free credit monitoring for a year is poor consolation for such a breach of trust.
7. Willy, aka ‘Web’ stresses precautions and personal awareness for her computer using friends. Why aren’t companies and sites taking more responsibility on themselves to protect users in your opinion?
It’s happening but not nearly at the level it needs to be and not from a standpoint of a formal and constant coordinated effort. Part of the reason is that breaches have become the norm that such crimes are almost becoming white noise to the public ear. Worse, since organizations are rarely held accountable for breaches providing one-year free credit monitoring service post-breach to affected individuals is hardly a fair trade-off. October is national cybersecurity month, but 31 days of security tips and reminders is not adequate to make a dent in improving user security education. This approach has to change, and while the government through agencies like DHS has improved outreach, the private sector needs to meet it half-way and do more. All organizations likely have some cyber security training in place, but this needs to be more than a once-a-year practice. Cyber security must be 24x7x365. The bad guys don’t take a break. What makes security awareness think that it can?
8. What future threats do you see for internet users?
The one major disadvantage facing Internet users is that the bad guys are always one step ahead of the good guys. They continually demonstrate ingenuity and innovation when it comes to taking advantage of software, hardware, applications, programs, and computer users’ writ large. That puts the public behind the eight-ball from the start. The more users adopt Internet of Things devices (this refers to any item that has an IP address and is Internet accessible like refrigerators, baby monitors, autonomous cars, home thermostats, etc.), the more susceptible they will be to online attacks. How organizations (such as Equifax or healthcare organizations) responsibly store and protect the personal and sensitive of data of people is something that users should be concerned about as well. Two others worthy of note are Cloud storage services and ransomware. As more people rely on cloud services to store data, these enclaves will be increasingly targeted. Although usually better secured, once breached, an attacker will have access to everything stored in that cloud. Ransomware doesn’t seem to be going away. Ransomware is malware that encrypts your files and demands a ransom to be paid to the attacker before its decrypted. This first started targeting organizations and sectors like healthcare and education but has shifted toward targeting individuals.
9. What would you want the ultimate takeaway to be for anyone reading, ’The Web Paige Chronicles’?
Computers and computer technology have given us enormous benefits. But like all things, there are drawbacks and dangers. Being aware of the dangers and acting responsibly on the Internet starts with the individual but must include the ongoing support and participation of friends, family, parents, and responsible adults.
10. Where do you see your character Wilhelmina ten years from now?
Excellent question! Web is very much influenced by her father’s work in law enforcement and her mother’s work in a hospital. In college, I see her computer science-focused but using that as a stepping stone toward a career where that enables her to help people. So, I don’t see her exclusively in a reverse engineering or computer programming role. The computer side will definitely be a complementary aspect to her future career. What exactly that will be remains to be seen. Like any person, these goals are subject to change. It’s hard to believe I started off with an English major and headed toward teaching and found myself in cyber security. They don’t call it a journey for nothing!
11. You touch on some sensitive issues in the novel. What prompted you to include cyber bullying and sexting?
I think it was important to approach the issues being confronted by this age group in the real world. Leaving out some of the more provocative incidents that are transpiring daily would have made the book incomplete, and risked it being accused of trying to avoid disturbing realities. More importantly, kids are smart. They know when things are sugar-coated. For this book to resonate with the readers, it needed to be honest about what this age group sees and talks about and struggles with. It needed to be on their level from perspectives that they could identify with, and in the end, show them how to manage through them in a positive and helpful manner.
13. What projects are you currently working on? Will there be a sequel to ‘The Web Paige Chronicles’? It seems like I have a million things going on, it’s difficult to get organized. I have completed my first fiction novel The Girl Behind the Glass that was accepted for publication by a Canadian press and should be out in 2019, and a full-length book of poetry entitled Smoke in the Afterlife that should be out late 2018/early 2019. As for Web, I have been jotting down notes for a sequel to The Web Paige Chronicles. She is a character that I love and want to see more of in the future. Hopefully readers will as well!
Well me hearties, it’s time to bid our esteemed guest, Emilio Iasiello a fond farewell! We look forward to hearing more from our Cyber Security expert in the future.
All my duty to you, fair winds and following seas for your journey, and may you have Good Fortune for your companion!
As always, I remain your humble servant,
Patricia Mattern, Mistress of Madness
Mistress of Madness
Well, do you have any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?
Lewis Carroll, in 1897, proposed this answer, "Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat; and it is 'never' put with the wrong end in front!" (raven, spelled backward, is nevar aka never...or as we like to say here at TT...never more!)