SANS Technology Institute Selects Ed Skoudis as its President

(BETHESDA, MD, September 1, 2021) SANS Technology Institute has named Ed Skoudis the new president of the college. The Board of Directors announced the appointment on September 1, 2021, after a unanimous vote in support of the highly regarded and charismatic cybersecurity innovator.

Ed Skoudis is founder of the SANS Institute’s Penetration Testing Curriculum and creator of SANS NetWars, CyberCity, and the Holiday Hack Challenge.

“Ed is one of the most respected and beloved leaders and educators in cybersecurity and has been instrumental in the college’s success from the start,” said Alan Paller, founder of the SANS Technology Institute, who stepped down as president in April 2021 after leading the college through more than a decade of remarkable growth. “I’m confident that he is the right person, at the right time, to build on the college’s reputation as the best cybersecurity higher education institution in the world.”

Offering career-focused undergraduate and graduate programs at the cutting edge of cybersecurity, the SANS Technology Institute develops world-class technically skilled professionals and leaders who strengthen global information security. Its master’s degree students conduct leading-edge cybersecurity research that enhances the state of the art in the practice of information security. The college is also home to the Internet Storm Center, the world’s leading global cyber threat detection network, where students in the bachelor’s degree program gain hands-on experience as Apprentice Handlers.

“Ed is an expert in the field and a brilliant educator.,” said Dennis Kirby, Chairman of the SANS Technology Institute’s Board of Directors. “He created many of the methodologies employed by governments and organizations around the world to test and secure their infrastructures. He has the strategic vision and mature leadership style needed to advance the college’s highest-level aspirations.”

“It has been my great honor to carry the mace at the SANS Technology Institute commencement ceremony every year since the college was founded,” said Ed Skoudis. “I have seen firsthand the extraordinary impact the college has made on our students’ careers and lives, and I am tremendously proud to assume the role of president of the SANS Technology Institute. I want to thank Alan Paller for his outstanding leadership of the college. He left big shoes to fill, but I’m ready for the challenge and excited about the tremendous opportunities ahead.”

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Biography – Ed Skoudis

If you mention “Ed” when discussing penetration testing or incident response, everyone knows exactly of whom you are speaking. Ed Skoudis has taught upwards of 40,000 security professionals globally and his countless contributions to information security have had immense impact on the community. His courses distill the essence of real-world, front-line case studies he accumulates because he is consistently one of the first authorities brought in to provide post-attack analysis on major breaches.

Ed is the founder of the SANS Penetration Testing Curriculum and Counter Hack; leads the team that builds NetWars, Holiday Hack Challenge, and CyberCity; and has served for years on the Board of Directors for the SANS Technology Institute. A consummate presenter, Ed is a keynote speaker appearing internationally at conferences, and is an Advisory Board member for RSA.

Ed began teaching for SANS Institute in 1999. He earned an M.S. in Information Networking from Carnegie Mellon University and had already become a trusted security consultant with many accolades. He was the expert called in by the White House to test security viability of the Trusted Internet Connection (TIC) that now protects US Government networks and he led the team that first publicly demonstrated significant security flaws in virtual machine technology. With his vast foundational knowledge of attacker behavior and techniques, and his work creating hacker challenges in the nascent stages of Counter Hack, Ed founded the SANS Penetration Testing Curriculum in 2008. He says, “I really love building SANS courses and cyber ranges and working hard to make sure they represent realistic technical lessons that students can apply immediately when they get back to the office.”

In 2010, Ed and his team at Counter Hack built NetWars, the widely used cyber training and skills assessment ranges relied upon by military units and corporations with major assets at risk. Now, there are more than five versions of NetWars available in various modalities, including Core, DFIR, Cyber Defense, ICS, and CyberCity, not to mention Counter Hack’s wildly popular Holiday Hack Challenge, featuring the KringleCon virtual conference. In 2015, Ed was awarded the Order of Thor Medal by the Military Cyber Professionals Association for his contributions in preparing the next generation of Cyber Warriors in large part because of these ranges. “When I first learned the offensive arts back in the day, there weren’t many good, realistic, safe environments to practice and build skills. Some of my friends and peers did some pretty crazy stuff back then – stuff that could get them in BIG TIME trouble. In my work now, I want to make sure that we have safe alternatives for people to build their skills.” Today, Ed continues to mentor the SANS author team in making realistic labs and ranges so that people can learn safely.

Ed has been published numerous times, including his own books The Hack-Counter Hack Training Course and Counter Hack Reloaded: A Step-by-Step Guide to Computer Attacks and Effective Defenses, and he’s often referenced in security articles, like the wide press coverage on his RSA panels in recent years about the most dangerous attack techniques and security threats. He originally authored SANS’s flagship penetration testing courses, SEC504: Hacker Tools, Techniques, Exploits, and Incident Handling and SEC560: Network Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking, but in the classroom is where his love of storytelling really shines, elevating the content with real examples to hammer home each detailed technical point through narrative.

His absolute favorite hobby is hacking together cool Internet of Things stuff for his office. Utilizing new hardware and automation, Ed can bring antique technologies back to life, writing code that stitches it all together with the cloud. Among other projects, he’s implemented the “MorseCodinator,” which is an 1861 telegraph key that follows him on Twitter, diligently typing out anything he tweets in morse code, and he’s taken a 1951 porthole TV and connected it to a Raspberry Pi to enable Netflix viewing while participating in Google Meets via the 19-inch black and white TV. “I have an old Tesla coil and a razor-sharp 1938 Westinghouse fan that I can control via Amazon Alexa. What can possibly go wrong! But, gosh, it’s so much fun!”

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