Mr. Paller’s pet project was the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation, which hosts hacking challenges for high school and college students. The idea was partly based on the example of China, which holds regular hacking competitions to identify its next generation of digital warriors.
“We have no program like that in the United States – nothing,” Mr Paller told The Times in 2013. “No one even teaches this in schools. If we do not solve this problem, we are in trouble.”
His program offers university scholarships and free SANS training with the goal of finding and developing 25,000 new “cyber stars” by 2025. Last year, Mr. Pallets and Mr. Lightning a new game, CyberStart, which challenges students to track down. cybercriminals, in exchange for $ 2 million in scholarships.
“People in this industry talk about public-private partnerships all day, but I can only think of four examples, and two of them came from Alan,” said Tony Sager, the former chief operating officer of the National Security Agency’s Information Assurance Directorate. which oversees cyber defense.
In 2001, Mr. Cases at the NSA and working on Code Red, a computer virus that had just spread to hundreds of thousands of computers in a single day when he received a call from Mr. Pallets asking if anyone at the agency was addressing Code Red.
Cases were, but could not discuss it. “I told him that if I say no, I’m an idiot,” he remembered, to which he replied, “Of course we are, Alan.”
Mr. Paller said he ran a conference in Washington of the best brains in the industry. “He said, ‘Come to this ballroom at 7pm. Bring whoever you want. We need snacks.’