Geek Prime : One with a vision, the first, the leader, who initiates, and pushes the boundaries towards the greater good; also, one who is indivisible, who fosters unity, community and collaboration; one who is at the centre of all things, and provides guidance and foundation.
Dr. Frédéric Massicotte was awarded the Geek Prime Award in appreciation of his leadership role and his research contributions to the cyber community, and also to recognize the tremendous impact he had in building the GeekWeek event.
Dr. Massicotte was always someone with sharp learning skills, vision, drive and energy. As a young graduate, one of his first projects was to build a research lab at Canada’s Communication Research Center in 2000. Always driven to push the boundaries further and a firm believer in collaboration, Dr. Massicotte built the team that invented the first iteration of the BeAVER (Behavioral Analysis using Virtualization and Experimental Research) project, an automated malware analysis structure that would become the basis of many cyber defense programs across Canada.
Dr. Massicotte often says: “Data matters more than code, and people matter more than data.” Right from the start of his career, Dr. Massicotte valued the importance of working with people and happily shared his passion for the field of cyber security, wether with colleagues or by enthusiastically mentoring more than one hundred students and supervising numerous thesis projects.
This belief in the prime importance of learning, collaboration and sharing data is what drove Dr. Massicotte’s vision of a yearly event where experts from all sectors - government, academia, industry, international - could come together, innovate together, and build stronger relationships by working side-by-side. This is how the first GeekWeek was born. In the five years since its modest debuts, and thanks to Dr. Massicotte’s hard-work and passion, the event has grown into a 9-day, 19,200 collective-hours-of-work event that produces more than 30 new tools annually to fight cyber crime, that gathers more than 200 experts from across the world and recruits dozens of students to introduce them to the field of cyber security.
For achieving what many thought impossible and for your relentless hard work, thanks Fred for being our Optimus Prime and pulling us in the right direction to become better Geeks… together!
Dr. Frédéric Massicotte (center) and GeekWeek co-founder
Mathieu Couture (right), discussing with GeekWeek participants.
Photo taken during GeekWeek V, in 2018
Addressing the crowd about the importance of collaboration.
Geek Supreme: One who dedicates their whole life to innovation, that moves the frontiers of the possible, and that encourages and pushes others to become enthusiastic about a subject, to a point where they become specialists.
Dr. John L. Robinson was awarded in October 2017 the Geek Supreme Award in recognition and appreciation of his tremendous contribution to the Canadian cyber ecosystem. Dr. Robinson’s visionary achievement of first connecting Canada to the ARPANET back in 1985 revolutionized the lives of Canadians and earned him the nickname of “Father of the Canadian Internet”.
A post-graduate of Western University with a PhD in high energy particle physics and an NSERC Postdoc, Dr. Robinson quickly took on a leadership role in the field when he started a research program in computer communications and networks at the Communications Research Centre in Ottawa in 1981. At a time when computers and networks were still in their infancy, Dr. Robinson heard of emerging internet technology – TCP and IP – and, with a couple of ARPANET packet switches from BBN, some digital circuits from various US and Canadian carriers and a prototype ARPANET router built with a PDP11/23 computer, formed the first Canadian research network. That was the start of the CRC network R&D program!
For the next 30 years, Dr. Robinson helped shape the internet as we know it, travelling around the world to collaborate in international working groups. His radiating personality made him known to all, and the results of these collaborations were great leaps forward in the telecommunications field which earned him numerous awards.
While network security was an obscure research topic in early 2000, Dr. Robinson mentored a group of young geeks interested in cyber threat and malware analysis to build a “malware observatory” which evolved into the BEAVER database that powers CCIRC’s (Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre) cyber security efforts.
His dedication to the next generation of cyber security experts, his willingness to take risks and his power of communication and collaboration embody perfectly the spirit of GeekWeek, and we are happy to celebrate his lifetime work and extraordinary contributions to this field.
Thanks Dr. Robinson for making us the geeks that we are!
Dr. Robinson (right), looking at his 1985 router, photocopier look-a-like that would allow him to connect Canada to the ARPANET.
Photo taken on April 3rd, 1985
Godfather: One that founds, supports, or inspires.
Mario Lefebvre was awarded in October 2016 the Godfather of GeekWeek Award in recognition and appreciation of his actions as guide to the GeekWeek Team, mentor to the attendees and leader for the students and next generation of cyber experts. GeekWeek would never have come into existence without Mario Lefebvre. He both inspired the event and provided tremendous support and guidance to the GeekWeek Team in shaping the very first edition back in 2014, and his support and mentorship continues to this day.
It was Mario’s own creation of an intensive, collaborative cyber security workshop for governmental agencies that inspired the team at CCIRC (Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre) to create GeekWeek, an event where the experts from government could come together with specialists from the industry and from academia, in an environment with all the tools and time to generate amazing innovations. But while a project like GeekWeek is easy to dream up, it is quite harder to actualize. Thankfully, Mario not only understood the vision of GeekWeek, but immediately recognized the value of the event and happily provided the first organizing team with guidance to put it all together.
Mario has also played a leading role in shaping the next generation of cyber experts. From recruiting, to providing talks, to mentoring young talents, Mario is a beacon in the community and encapsulates the values of collaboration and sharing that are at the core of GeekWeek.
His generosity and leadership has left an impressive mark on the event and on the cyber community, and we are happy to celebrate his important contributions.
The trophy for the cyber security workshop founded by Mario that inspired the creation of GeekWeek.