Marriott School Alumnus and Faculty Win Thurston Auditing Award

A Marriott School of Management alumnus and three faculty members will be presented with the prestigious John B. Thurston Award at the Institute of Internal Auditors International Conference July 8-11 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, for their article about how to protect wireless networks from hackers.

The award is given annually for the best article appearing in Internal Auditor, published by the Institute of Internal Auditors, a leading authority on international auditing.

Marriott School alumnus Bryce Peterson was the lead author of this year’s winning article, “How Secure is Your Wireless Network?” published in February 2006. The piece outlines six simple steps to help people secure their personal and business network connections. Peterson completed his master of information systems management degree at Brigham Young University in 2003.

William G. Heninger, assistant professor of accounting and the article’s faculty sponsor said, “We wrote the article to help people understand how exposed their wireless networks are. Some people just set up a network server and go on their way, and they don’t realize that they’ve exposed their system to hackers. It’s like an open door. Anybody could just walk by and access their data.”

The idea for the article came to Peterson when he was a graduate assistant for Heninger conducting research on wireless network security for a curriculum development project. He pitched a few ideas to Heninger and they went to work on several articles.

“Bill has been a great mentor to me, and he sponsored the articles project as part of his research initiatives at BYU,” Peterson says. “He has the unique combination of experience in both accounting and information technology and was integral in helping to develop the articles for readers with varied experiences and backgrounds.”

Heninger later recruited Marshall B. Romney, chairman of the information systems department, and Craig J. Lindstrom, assistant teaching professor of information systems, to edit and fact check.

Thurston Award winners receive a bound volume of Internal Auditor in which their winning article appeared, a one-year membership to the IIA and free registration at the annual conference.

Peterson, who now works as a manager at KPMG, says he and Heninger plan to continue their collaboration on additional articles about accounting and information technology.

“Not only has this award re-emphasized the importance of teaming with great people.” Peterson says, “But, it will also enhance my credibility in the marketplace as I work with other professionals in helping clients achieve success with wireless networking.”

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems, organizational behavior and entrepreneurship. The school’s mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.

Media Contact: Joseph Ogden (801) 422-8938 or 787-9989
Writer: Arie Dekker (801) 422-1395