When Brian Rexroad is asked what he does for a living, his initial answer is, “Internet security.” If asked exactly what that means, he brings up detection and prevention of botnets, malware, DDoS attacks, and other abusive activity. “Invariably, people don’t know what they are and their eyes gloss over,” says Rexroad.
Rexroad’s official AT&T bio tags him as “the technical lead developing processing systems to analyze Internet activity for security events such as distributed denial of service attacks, network worms and botnets.” Named on three patents (and a fourth patent applied for), Rexroad’s expertise includes network data security analysis, public key infrastructure and secure messaging, network architecture, cryptographic systems design, and security protocol design.
While that description may be over the heads of most people, they’re glad Rexroad does what he does. By developing unique and innovative analytical techniques, he and his team are a big part of AT&T’s efforts to track malicious activity on the Internet. As the sophistication of cybercriminals increases, Rexroad and his AT&T colleagues work diligently to stay a step ahead of the bad guys. “We’re focused on looking for activity or events that are of concern to us as a network service provider,” Rexroad explains. “Activity or events that might grow to interfere with network performance.” If there’s an infection traversing the network, Rexroad and his cohorts would much rather find it first and mitigate the threat than have a customer call and ask what’s going on.
Given what he does for a living, one might think Rexroad would be an early adopter, but he’s not big on technology for technology’s sake. “I tend to be more focused on what technology does in terms of human value and the importance it provides to society,” Rexroad says. “At AT&T, there’s relentless innovation for the improvement of human kind. That’s exactly the right way to look at it.”
With AT&T for 15 years, Rexroad received his BS in Electrical Engineering from Penn State University and an MS in Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.