A Fishing Trip, a Battleship and Cybersecurity
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A Fishing Trip, a Battleship and Cybersecurity

By Dennis Tomlin, Chief Information Security Officer, Multnomah County

Dennis Tomlin, Chief Information Security Officer, Multnomah County

I grew up in a very small landlocked town in North Central Oregon.My father was one to never miss the opportunity to share a life lesson with his children. These lessons often took place around the campfire of deer hunting camp, in the family garden or on the banks of one of the many rivers that he loved to fish.

I used the term “landlocked” to describe where I grew up because Hood River, Oregon does not bring visions of large ships docked at the tiny marina; however in 1962 Hood River became the temporary home of the USS Banning, a naval escort vessel.The Banning was unlike anything that this 7 year old had ever seen in his entire life. A massive 184’ long weighing 138 tons.

On a warm August evening in 1963 and I found myself alongside of my dad standing on the dock next to this monstrous vessel. Apparently this is the spot where he wanted to fish for perch and bluegill. It seemed odd to me that my dad was standing on the dock, arms extended, silently pushing on the hull of The Banning as if he was trying to push it out of the way.

After what seemed like an eternity, (most likely 5 or 10 minutes) I noticed that the massive 138 ton ship was beginning to move. Soon it had moved enough for us to slip our lines between the ship and the dock so that we were able to fish.

"Cybersecurity is a Shared Responsibility"

I asked my father why we just did not find another place to fish. What he told me has stuck with me to this day.He said, “Son I have two things to tell you.Sometimes there are huge things in our way that keep us from doing the things that we want to do.If we stay steady and keep pushing we get momentum and these big things start to move.” Then he said, “you know that if you would have helped me push we could have started fishing sooner.”

This reminds me of a motto that states, “cyber-security is a shared responsibility.”

Cyber-security is big and it is heavy, and at times it almost seems insurmountable and impossible to keep up with the bad actors.

We can watch as others do the heavy lifting, leaving it to the IT Professionals to secure our data, or we can be mindful participants in the process and do the little things that we are aware of to help improve our overall cyber-security posture.

epilogue -

The USS Banning Returned to Navy custody in 1969

It was acquired in 1972 by Growler, Inc. of Juneau, AK and renamed Growler

October 1, 1973 The 180 foot freighter Growler capsized in rough seas during a savage winter storm in the Bering Strait 11 miles north of Wales.The converted Navy patrol vessel and landing craft was hauling construction equipment between Nome, Kotzebue and Bethel.All three crew members were lost including captain James Halliger of Seward, engineer Harry Germeau of Port Townsend WA and Ralph Geiger of Sequim WA.An empty life raft washed ashore at Wales.

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