Greg Esslinger, C’91, a senior executive with an international risk management firm, will lecture on the rapidly evolving threats to businesses and individuals posed by cybercrime and corruption.
The speech, titled “Collision of Cultures: Cybercrime, Bribery and International Business,” takes place at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30, in Gailor Auditorium.
Esslinger is a senior partner at Control Risks, a global risk-management firm providing counsel to clients on crisis management, protecting employees in high-risk environments, defending against cybercriminals, and ensuring that firms are in compliance with international regulations on corruption.
Esslinger argues that the breadth and depth of digital interconnectedness is vastly expanding the risks individuals, companies and societies face. Not only are traditional criminals exploiting this networked world, but nation-states themselves and politically and socially motivated groups are emerging as a potent threat.
While previously, crimes like extortion, bribery, and kidnapping were generally committed for financial gain, in today’s cyber environment, non-state actors and governments are employing cybercrime techniques to achieve ideological and geo-strategic objectives.
In addition to traditional crimes like extortion, bribery, and kidnapping, motivated by personal financial gain, new actors and governments are employing cybercrime techniques to achieve ideological and geo-strategic objectives.
The Internet of Things (IoT) connects billions of devices ranging from mundane household thermostats to intricate global transport networks, exposing businesses, individuals and societies to new levels of vulnerability.
Esslinger calls the IoT “the front line choke point or attack point” for the wave of new cybercrime.
“The challenge,” he adds, “is making people aware and developing an understanding of the importance” of robust defenses against cybercrime. This task is made more complex by the stark differences in cultural, political, and historical values in different societies.
After graduating from Sewanee with an English major, Esslinger earned a law degree from Georgia State University College of Law.
He spent five years with the FBI, working on international terrorism and terrorist financing investigations. His career in the public and private sectors has taken him to more than 40 countries across the globe.
Esslinger’s visit to Sewanee is sponsored by the Babson Center for Global Commerce and the Office of the Dean of the College. He is the 2018 Easter Semester Bryan Viewpoints Speaker, a lecture series made possible by a generous gift from Peggy and J.F. Bryan IV, C’65.