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Interview with Jodi Ito

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

Are you interested in learning some tips to keep yourself safe from cybercriminals? Have you ever wondered how cybersecurity will evolve in the future? In this interview, Jodi Ito, the Chief Information Security Officer from the University of Hawaii, Mānoa, shares her thoughts on these topics.

Meigan: Could you please tell us some background about yourself and what you do at the University of Hawaii?

Jodi: I am the Chief Information Security Officer for the University of Hawaii and I've been at the University for almost forty years, but I've been at this particular job since 2000. So that's just about twenty-three years. My job at the university as Chief Information Security Officer is to protect the university's information assets. We often think of protected information as personally identifiable information such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, and credit card numbers, but it also refers to other data elements that are protected by laws and regulations. Essentially, I help students protect their online information since doing so properly can sometimes be overwhelming.

Meigan: Any tips for new device users in regards to cybersecurity?

Jodi: As you mentioned, many people don't necessarily understand the capabilities or the dangers that can unknowingly come with devices. For instance, when responding to an email on your cell phone, information that would be useful to help determine if that email is a phishing email or not is often not easily visible. So how do you help someone understand where the risks are? I think that all of the things that Cyber Safe Seniors is doing, including having these sessions for seniors and talking to them in person, really help to highlight examples and case studies that help new device users in this regard.

Say a senior receives an email saying that their grandchild is in need of assistance in a foreign country, and suppose the email asks them to send money to a certain bank account. By telling seniors that these types of attacks and phishing schemes are designed to scam them out of their money, hopefully they can understand that they should confirm the legitimacy of the information first before reacting to the message. For instance, maybe they should call their grandchild's mother or father to confirm the information before they take any action.

Again, a big part of helping new device users understand what the risks are involves letting them know that there is a whole group of bad people who want to take advantage of them. It’s also important for them to change their mindset because we humans have a tendency to be helpful. We want to believe everything that's told to us. However, when it comes to the internet and the information that's presented to us, the first response we have to have is to be suspicious even though this goes against human nature.

Meigan: How do you think cybersecurity will evolve, especially when considering new artificial intelligence technologies like Chat GPT?

Jodi: It's hard to know what new technologies will bring. Regarding artificial intelligence and machine learning, I personally think these new technologies are really cool. For example, you have what they call the artificial intelligence bots, right? They set up this little widget to it, and it gives you answers. A good example of that is Chat GPT. If you ask it to do a task, it comes back with a fairly decent response that is not human generated, even though the intelligence or the data that was collected was originally developed by humans. You can use it as an assistant for areas where you don't have the ability to get information on your own, or you can use it to help supplement responses.

I think that Chat GPT can be used for good, but at the same time we have to understand that it can be used maliciously too. For instance, Chat GPT’s amazing capabilities can be used for plagiarism. People can use it to make fake resumes or develop phishing message messages. They can use it to conduct attacks, automated attacks against networks, people and machines.

There will be malicious malicious uses when it comes to technology, and that's the part where you have to ask, how do you prepare? It's really about staying current, being adaptable, knowing what tools you have obtainable to you, and perhaps changing how it's used to thwart the new attacks. Again, like anything else, it involves constant learning and being open to changes.


It is important to become familiar with the internet so that your personal information can be protected, and if you ever encounter any unfamiliar phone calls, emails, or texts, be suspicious and confirm the information!

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