About Me

Carey Parker - Author, Podcast Host, Speaker, Cybersecurity & Privacy Advocate

Carey Parker: Cybersecurity & Privacy Advocate, Author, Podcast Host, Speaker


My Mission

I am on a mission to raise the awareness of everyday, non-technical people on the crucially important topics of cybersecurity and privacy. There are plenty of resources for computer geeks (like me), but I’m striving to reach the 99% of the population who use the Internet all the time but have no real idea how safe they are nor how to make themselves safer. It might seem like a lost cause, but trust me, it’s not! There are dozens of free and simple things we can all be doing to protect ourselves, our family, and our friends.

Book: Firewalls Don’t Stop Dragons

All of this started with the publishing of my book, Firewalls Don’t Stop Dragons, now in its fourth edition. I always wanted to write a book and I have a knack for explaining complex technical subjects using simple analogies and plain English. When the Edward Snowden bombshells dropped in 2013, it all crystallized for me: I needed to help people understand why computer security and online privacy are important – not just individually, but for any healthy democracy – and tell them what they can do to improve both. The book has 170 tips and techniques for mitigating or eliminating cyber-weaknesses, online tracking, mass surveillance and general hackery.

Podcast: Firewalls Don’t Stop Dragons

Podcast

I am the host of the podcast Firewalls Don’t Stop Dragons. The podcast is released every Monday, featuring the week’s most relevant cyber-news and interviews with knowledgeable guests – all geared towards regular, everyday, non-technical people.

You can find the show on iTunes, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify, and other podcast and streaming radio venues. You can see some of my top guests by clicking here.

Newsletter & Blog

I publish a bi-weekly newsletter of timely cyber-security and privacy tips. My goal is to keep it short and to the point, with links for you to dig further and learn more if you have the time. You can sign up for the newsletter here. When you sign up, you will receive my booklet Carey’s Top 5 Security Tips for free, as well as the first chapter of my book! I will never give our your email address to anyone else (privacy is sorta my thing).

Teaching & Public Speaking

I teach a class on cybersecurity and privacy as part of the Osher Life Long Institute (OLLI) program at Duke University. I started teaching the class in spring of 2016 and now teach twice a year (fall and spring terms).

I also do some public speaking on the basics of privacy and cybersecurity. My goal is to educate normal people who don’t have a technical background about what the real threats are and how to defend against them, in a fun and engaging way. I minimize the jargon and use helpful analogies to drive the points home. If you have a group that might be interested in a talk on how to stay safe in the digital world, see the Contact page to submit a request.

Consulting

Now that I’m retired from my career in software engineering, I’m doing some very limited one-on-one consulting for people who need help improving their security and privacy. I can walk you through specific changes to your computer, smart phone or online accounts, or you can just ask me questions. All consulting is virtual (Zoom). If you’re interested, see the Contact page for an email link.

Bio

Short version

Carey Parker is the author of the book “Firewalls Don’t Stop Dragons: A Step-by-Step Guide to Computer Security and Privacy for Non-Techies”. He hosts a podcast of the same name, as well as a blog and a newsletter. He recently retired from a 28-year career in software engineering to focus on teaching others how to defend their digital devices and protect their personal data.

Long version

Carey Parker was born and raised in Indiana, an only child who loved to tear apart his electronic toys and reassemble them in interesting ways. He began programming computers in middle school when personal computers were just starting to become popular. For years, these twin interests percolated until he attended Purdue University and he learned you could get paid to do this stuff – it was called Electrical Engineering! After obtaining a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in EE, Carey launched his career in telecommunications software development at Bell Northern Research (aka the “Big Nerd Ranch”). Over the next 23+ years, Carey wrote software for multiple companies, large and small, and lived in various cities across the southern United States. In recent years, particularly after the Edward Snowden revelations in 2013, he became deeply concerned about computer security and online privacy. In 2014, he combined his passion for computers, cyber-security and fantasy novels with the long-time desire to write a book: Firewalls Don’t Stop Dragons. As of October 2020, Carey has retired from the rat race of the 40-hour work week and is now focused on writing more books, writing software apps, and advocating for privacy protections.