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    Jim Thackston is a computer security and engineering consultant based in Tampa Bay, Florida with more than 25 years of experience in software architecture, software engineering, network security, and cybercrime detection and mitigation.

    In 2005, Jim set out to understand one of the most difficult problems facing the internet economy: online identity verification. Over the past 11 years, he has studied the problem from every perspective, focusing initially on the problem of knowing who is really ‘sitting’ at an online poker table.

    To prove the weaknesses in poker identity verification, he built a full-featured system demonstrating how internet poker could be used to launder money in a way that is virtually undetectable. A briefing to senior FBI officials in May 2013 led to a July 2013 US Senate hearing on the money laundering threat posed by internet gambling. In December, 2013, Jim submitted testimony to the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade.

    Jim took the insights gained from the intensive online gambling study and applied them to the much more expansive problem of online identity verification in all internet and intranet activity. He has studied the problem as it relates to corporate and government intranets, online banking, and cryptocurrencies and other blockchain applications.

    Jim is the inventor of record for a number of patents important to cloud computing, manufacturing, renewable energy, and computer security. Most notable are 2 patents that anticipated aspects of cloud computing by 10 years.

    His computer security expertise is reinforced by academic and career achievements.

    In 1989, Jim graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. After college, he served in the 101st Airborne Division and served in Saudi Arabia and Iraq during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

    After leaving active duty, Jim earned a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. While attending Georgia Tech, Jim interned as a turbomachinery engineer in the Propulsion Laboratory at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. He continued as a full-time engineer after his studies at Georgia Tech concluded in 1994. While at Marshall, he designed turbine components for both experimental and non-experimental liquid oxygen and kerosene fuel turbopumps.

    It was during his NASA service that Jim became a skilled software engineer. He applied these skills at Eglin Air Force Base helping build a combat mission planning system used by the US Air Force and other US military services.

    Jim has worked as a consultant ever since designing and building software systems in the manufacturing, energy, telecommunications, financial, and government sectors.

    The opinions expressed in this blog are those of Jim Thackston and do not necessarily represent those of IDG Communications, Inc., its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.