As a person who is fascinated by cars and ensuring their cybersecurity, systems engineering master’s student Duy Van is in the right place this summer.
Van is an intern with BlackBerry’s team Cylance, a software company specializing in the Internet of Things (IoT) and cybersecurity.
Working in Dallas, Texas, Van assists his team in requirement validation and penetration testing on the latest vehicle infotainment system. He also attends internship program meetings, events, and career development workshops.
“Modern vehicles consist of hundreds of electrical systems on top of just mechanical and thermal engineering principles,” Van said. “With the expansion of the IoT in the automotive industry, vehicles are way more complex now, but also more open to cybersecurity threats.”
Born in Vietnam, Van’s journey has been driven by the inspiration he gets from his mother. After Van’s father passed away, his mother worked to take care of the family and support his education in the United States. Van received his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering with a minor in cybersecurity from the University of Tulsa.
“I really appreciate the time, energy, and sacrifices [my mom] made for me and without her dedication, I would not be the same person,” Van said. “I strive to work even a portion as hard as she does every day.”
Van credits the unique hands-on experience provided by both the CyberTruck Challenge and CyberAuto Challenge for helping to prepare him for his internship. “Those were unique opportunities to have access to actual platforms and learn from the best cyber researchers, white-hat hackers, and industry professionals,” he said.
When not working or in class, Van loves outdoor activities such as hiking, playing tennis, and snowboarding. He also enjoys working on his personal vehicle or helping others with vehicle maintenance, because he feels like he learns new things every time he helps someone.
For students that are interested in the field of cybersecurity, Van encourages them to keep working hard.
“[Cybersecurity] takes a lot of work,” Van said. “But, it is extremely rewarding to see what you work on being used in the field.”