Mr Paller’s favorite project was the National Cyber ​​Scholarship Foundation, which hosts hacking challenges for high school and college students. The idea was based in part on the example of China, which regularly hosts hacking competitions to identify its next generation of digital warriors.

“We don’t have such a program in the United States – nothing,” Mr. Paller told The Times 2013. “Nobody teaches that in schools either. If we don’t solve this problem, we’ll be in trouble. “

Its program offers college scholarships and free SANS training with the aim of finding and developing 25,000 new “cyberstars” by 2025, cyber criminals in exchange for $ 2 million in scholarship funds.

“People in this industry talk about public-private partnerships all day, but I can only think of four examples, and two of them came from Alan,” said Tony Sager, former chief operating officer of the National Security Agency’s Information Assurance Directorate who oversees cyber defense.

In 2001, Mr Sager was working at the NSA on Code Red, a computer virus that had spread to hundreds of thousands of computers in a single day, when he received a call from Mr Paller asking him if anyone at the agency had addressing code red.

It was Mr. Sager but couldn’t talk about it. “I told him if I say no, I’m an idiot,” he recalled and replied, “Of course we are, Alan.”

Mr Paller said he was chairing a conference of the best in industry in Washington. “He said, come to this ballroom at 7pm. Bring whoever you want. We’ll have snacks. “

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