Computer Crime Research Center


ON THE RECORD: Stratton Sclavos

Date: January 14, 2005
By: Chronicle Staff

... on the digital side is manageable versus the rewards we get from the convenience and the availability and the pricing models. Yet I think like every society we sometimes take for granted how secure things are because it's always worked. And if Sept. 11 taught us anything, it's that once you take these things for granted is when you're most vulnerable.

Q: You're so deeply involved in this business, how do you deal with what your kids can see online?

A: Poorly. The reality is, this is their neighborhood. (Kids) are online more than we could ever police.

You could talk about parental controls and the rest of it. I'm not a big believer in that. You just can't (monitor) effectively and think you're going to plug every hole. I think it's more important to make the kids aware and to have their education about technology include security and privacy and the rest.

We're working with a group that's congressionally funded called i-SAFE ( We have a little security token you can plug into the machine, and we are going to give this out for free. The goal is to have AOL and MSN and Yahoo and others build chat rooms where you have to plug this code in that gets generated into the log-in screen. And only kids will be allowed in.

Two weekends ago, my daughter said, "Dad, I opened up an e-mail I knew I shouldn't have opened up, and now my machine is slow." I ran one of the tools you can get online for free (and found) 937 instances of spyware or pop-ups or something like that. And my kids, you would think, are aware of this stuff.
Full interview

Name: Stratton Sclavos
Age: 43
Job: Chairman and chief executive officer of VeriSign; Sclavos was VeriSign's first CEO when it was spun off from RSA in 1995.
Education: Bachelor of science in electrical and computer engineering from UC Davis
Family: Wife, Jody; two children, 14 and 16

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