Pioneer offers Internet safety
A YSU graduate is featured on the cover of a new trade magazine for corporate security officers.
THE VINDICATOR, YOUNGSTOWN
By CYNTHIA VINARSKY
VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER
Bill Boni had never heard of cybersecurity when he started mixing business and law enforcement as a Youngstown State University student in the mid-1970s.
The former Austintown resident said he couldn't have guessed he'd become a cyber-security pioneer, helping giant corporations find ways to protect their ideas and trade secrets from computer hackers and Internet pirates.
Now director of information protection services for Motorola and recognized as an expert in the computer security field, Boni made the cover of this month's CSO Magazine, a new trade publication for chief corporate security officers.
The publication's cover story, an article on how security teams can form partnerships with managers in other departments, features comments from Boni and security officials from two other large companies. The article also appears in the magazine's online version, csoonline.com.
An Austintown Fitch High School graduate, Boni said he was thinking about protecting companies from physical theft and vandalism when he approached YSU for permission to design a special curriculum for himself.
"I could not have imagined when I was setting up that program where it would take me," he said.
Boni graduated YSU in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in security management, then served four years as a counterintelligence officer with the Army before taking his first corporate security job.
His goal at first was to help companies thwart physical theft or vandalism -- burglars plotting to steal merchandise or supplies from loading docks, dishonest employees cooking up embezzling scams.
Even then, corporate security was emerging as a high-tech field, Boni said, with innovations such as card-access control systems, burglar alarms and closed-circuit television.
The technology revolution opened new windows of opportunity for corporate thieves, and Boni's career evolved. He worked to keep up with the changes, becoming a self-taught expert in computer fraud.
"Now, information and ideas have become companies' most valuable assets," he said. "Our goal is the same, finding ways to use the available technologies to manage risk to businesses."
Boni said he's developed computer forensics techniques and intrusion detection programs to help companies safeguard their intellectual property from internal and external threats.
In his most interesting investigation to date, he said, he helped an Alaskan oil company catch a female employee who had funneled more than a half-million dollars into phony accounts.
Boni said his career has taken him all over the country, and he's moved his family "six or seven times."
He was part of the cybercrime investigation team for Price Waterhouse Coopers until spring 2000, when he took the job with Motorola, based in Schaumburg, Ill. "This time, I promised my wife I'll stay a while," he said.