Roger Huang on Op-Sec, Human Rights and Fighting the Unwinnable WarNov 30, 2020
Roger Huang is fighting the good fight by helping human rights groups and tech startups to up their operations security game. But he warns that, when faced with a state adversary, people are waging an unwinnable war.
Roger is the CEO of CyberSecure, which he co-founded after realizing his own op-sec needed to improve. He was writing for publications such as Forbes on issues around China and human rights that may have made him vulnerable to attacks. He also saw that his company and its security tips and tools at youaresecure.com would benefit startups whose security he had experienced first-hand as way too lax. Roger even recalls an early growth company where he worked using a general password for logins including on Paypal, which was linked to the entity's bank account.
But while Roger helps to bolster cyber security, he did not sugarcoat the enormity of the task to outsmart governments bent on surveillance and censorship. He cited how the likes of China are forging ahead with their digital currency plans precisely to exert more influence over their citizens.
"This is their first principles approach to how they think about data privacy control and political succession," he said on the latest episode of the Follow the White Rabbit podcast.
Roger is not alone in sounding the alarm. It came to light this month that the U.S. intelligence community is concerned the Asian superpower has a headstart in the field of digital currencies. While the United States has largely sat on the sidelines taking a cautious approach, China has been on the digital currency path since at least 2014 with the establishment of the Digital Currency Research Institute by the governor of the People's Bank of China.
Roger said he admired how people, for example, in Hong Kong had moved to use Bitcoin to skirt government control of their finances. He has supported these instincts by publishing guides in the Hong Kong Free Press on a variety of cyber security op-sec tactics. But ultimately, he said it is practically impossible for individuals and companies to thwart a country like China when it determines to attack.
"It is essentially an unwinnable war. You can make it more frustrating and puff yourself up like a snake. But you can't actually defeat those attempts 100 percent if it's a state behind them," he said.
You can hear more of Roger's perspective on cybersecurity and resisting censorship by following us down the rabbit hole: listen to the conversation here or on your favorite streaming service.