Free Cybersecurity Seminar Slated for Dec. 18 at UM

December 12, 2014

MISSOULA Former CIA Operations Officer John Strauchs and security and intelligence expert Deviant Ollam will be at the University of Montana on Thursday, Dec. 18, to present a seminar on cybersecurity. 

The public is invited to “Cybersecurity Seminar: Defeating Intrusion Sensors” from 2 to 4:30 p.m. in the Interdisciplinary Science Building Room 110. The seminar is free.

In the classic movie “Sneakers,” a team of hackers-for-hire breaks into banks and corporations, bypassing alarm systems, motion detectors and multifactor access control systems. Strauchs, a technical adviser for the movie, will explain to Missoula audiences the workings of real operatives. 

Using live demonstrations, participants will learn how professionals bypass electronic access control systems using rare earth magnets and other techniques. 

They also will learn how attacks can be carried out using nothing but scrap aluminum. Ollam, a physical security specialist, will explain how aluminum is used to attack padlocks, door locks and electronic access controls.

By highlighting vulnerabilities in the weakest systems, the seminar will show how small, smart design changes can dramatically improve security.

The event will conclude with a panel discussion followed by a hands-on physical security workshop that will help participants learn how to protect their own facilities, equipment and programs.

Strauchs has 40 years of experience in security and intelligence. In addition to working with the CIA, he led security and fire engineering firm Systech Group, Inc. from 1985 to 2007. Before that he was a principal in charge of security engineering for Gage-Babcock & Associates. Strauchs has written or contributed to more than 90 professional articles and 10 books. He has appeared on the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Jim Lehrer News Hour and Equal Time, among others. 

Ollam’s first and strongest professional love always has been teaching. A graduate of the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Science, Technology & Society program, he is fascinated by the interplay that connects human values and social trends to developments in the technical world. 

While working as a security auditor and penetration-testing consultant with The CORE Group, Ollam also is a member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. division of TOOOL, The Open Organization of Lockpickers. Every year at DEFCON and ShmooCon, he runs the Lockpick Village; and he has conducted physical security training sessions for more than 16 high profile organizations including the FBI, the NSA and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  

For more information on the seminar, visit  


Contact: Sherri Davidoff, UM computer science adjunct instructor, 406-830-3165 ext. 102,