Sloan Lecture Series

#5 Surviving on a Diet of Poisoned Fruit: Reducing the Risks of America’s Cyber Dependencies
(December 10, 2014)

Surviving on a Diet of Poisoned Fruit: Reducing the Risks of America’s Cyber Dependencies

In his Distinguished Lecture, Richard Danzig proposes strategies for coping with a security paradox presented by cyber systems: As digital systems grant us unprecedented powers, they also make us less secure. While their immense communication capabilities enable wide scale collaboration and networking, they open doors to unprecedented intrusion. Concentrations of data and manipulative power vastly improve efficiency and scale, but these attributes increase the amount that can be stolen or subverted by successful attack. While we are now empowered to retrieve and manipulate data on our own, this beneficial “democratization” removes a chain of human approvals that served as safeguards. In sum, cyber systems nourish us, but at the same time, they weaken and poison us. Wise strategies, aimed at safeguarding the nation's data storehouse of vital information, must embrace a mix of technical responses, economic and business judgments, and policy choices. Focusing on Federal government vulnerabilities--but noting implications for all users--Dr. Danzig argues that we are not doing nearly as well as we could and recommends several paths to improvement.

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Cyber Lecture Series 5 - Surviving on a Diet of Poisoned Fruit: Reducing the Risks of America's Cyber Dependencies from NYU Tandon Online on Vimeo.

Distinguished Lecturer


Richard Danzig
Vice Chair
The RAND Corporation

Richard Danzig, who served as Secretary of the Navy in the Clinton Administration, is a member of the Defense Policy Board, the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, and Homeland Security Secretary’s Advisory Council. During Senator Obama's 2008 Presidential campaign, Danzig was one of his principal national security senior advisors. Earlier, in the Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense, he served first as Deputy Assistant Secretary and then as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower, Reserve Affairs and Logistics. For his work in national defense, he received the Defense Distinguished Public Service Award--the highest Department of Defense civilian award--three times. Danzig is Vice Chair of the Board of The RAND Corporation, a member of the Aspen Strategy Group and a senior advisor at the Center for New American Security, Center for Naval Analyses, and Center for Strategic and International Studies. Danzig is also a Trustee of Reed College, a Director of the Center for a New American Security and a Director of Saffron Hill Ventures. Danzig was previously a director of the National Semiconductor Corporation and Human Genome Sciences Corporation, Chairman of the Board of the Center for a New American Security and Chairman of the Board of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. In academic life, he was an Assistant and then Associate Professor of Law at Stanford, taught contract law at Georgetown, was a Prize Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow. He has been a partner in the law firm of Latham and Watkins and Litigation Director and then Vice Chair of the International Human Rights Group, for which service he was awarded the organization's Tony Friedrich Memorial Award. With Peter Szanton, Danzig is the author of National Service: What Would It Mean? (Lexington, 1986). His recent publications include, “Driving in the Dark: Ten Propositions About Prediction” and co-author of “Aum Shinrikyo: Insights into How Terrorists Develop Biological and Chemical Weapons,” both published by the Center for a New American Security. He received his BA from Reed College, his JD from Yale and his Bachelor of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. Upon his graduation from Yale, Danzig served as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White.

Distinguished Panel


Ralph Langner

Director and Founder
Langner Communications

Ralph Langner is Director and Founder of Langner Communications, an independent German cyber defense consultancy. A Principal at its US sister company, The Langner Group (based in Arlington, Virginia) and a nonresident Fellow at the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution, Langner is an expert in the cyber defense of power, water-treatment, nuclear, food and beverage, automotive, steel, and other industries. He is especially noted for his comprehensive analysis of the notorious Stuxnet malware. A frequent speaker at international conferences, he has advised the US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Council on Large Electric Systems (CIGRE), and the White House. The Huffington Post honored Langner as a Game Changer for explaining cyber warfare to the public. The author of several books, including Robust Control System Networks: How to Achieve Reliable Control After Stuxnet (Momentum, 2011) and with Perry Pederson, Bound to Fail: Why Cyber Security Risk Cannot Simply Be “Managed” Away (The Brookings Institution, 2013), he earned his degree in psychology at the Free University of Berlin, where he performed research on human information processing, modeled by cybernetics and artificial intelligence.


Andy Ozment

Assistant Secretary
Office of Cybersecurity and Communications
US Department of Homeland Security

Andy Ozment is Assistant Secretary of the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications in the National Protections and Programs Directorate at the US Department of Homeland Security where he leads an organization charged with enhancing the security, resilience, and reliability of the nation’s cyber and communications infrastructure. Prior to his current position, Ozment served at the White House as Senior Director for Cybersecurity where he led a team that implemented the President’s Executive Order on Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, the Cross Agency Priority goal for cybersecurity and the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. Earlier, he held positions at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, National Security Agency, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Merrill Lynch, and Nortel Networks. Ozment earned his BS in Computer Science from GeorgiaTech, an MS in International Relations from the London School of Economics and his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge.


Stefan Savage

Professor, Computer Science and Engineering
Director, Center for Network Systems
University of California, San Diego

Stefan Savage is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, where he performs research at the intersection of distributed systems, networking, and computer security. His current work focuses on embedded security and the economics of cybercrime. He serves as Director of UCSD's Center for Network Systems (CNS) and Co-director of the Center for Evidence-based Security Research (CESR), a joint effort between UCSD and the International Computer Science Institute. A Sloan Fellow, an Association for Computer Machinery Fellow, and a Weiser Award recipient, Savage earned his PhD in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Washington and his BS in Applied History from Carnegie Mellon University.

Welcome Address


Katepalli Sreenivasan

President and Dean, NYU Tandon School of Engineering
Executive Vice Provost of Science and Technology, NYU
Katepalli Sreenivasan, noted physicist, engineer, and champion of humanitarian causes, is President and Dean of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering and University Professor at NYU, where he also serves as Executive Vice Provost for Science and Technology. Before coming to NYU, he was Director of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste. Earlier, he taught at the University of Maryland and Yale. Elected to both the US National Academy of Sciences and Engineering and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is also a member of the Indian and African Academy of Sciences as well as the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS). Sreenivasan is recipient of numerous honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Otto Laporte Memorial Award of the American Physical Society.

Opening Remarks


Paula J. Olsiewski

Program Director
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Paula J. Olsiewski, a Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, who has led its programs in Microbiology of the Built Environment, Synthetic Biology, and Biosecurity, oversees the Sloan Public Service Awards, Civic Initiatives, and Awards for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics. Olsiewski serves on numerous boards, including Chair of EPA's Board of Scientific Counselors Homeland Security Research Subcommittee. Earlier, she served on the Advisory Board for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism of the Department of Homeland Security. A former member of the MIT Corporation, President of the MIT Alumni Association, and MIT's Initiative on Faculty Race and Diversity Advisory Committee, she earned her BS in Chemistry from Yale and her PhD in Biological Chemistry from MIT.

Lecturer Introduction


Jerry MacArthur Hultin

NYU Senior Presidential Fellow
Jerry M. Hultin, NYU Senior Presidential Fellow, helps design global and local programs in innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship. Until recently, he served as President of the Polytechnic Institute of NYU, spearheading its merger to become the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. In the Clinton Administration, he served as Under Secretary, reporting to Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig. A graduate of Ohio State University and Yale Law School, Hultin was a naval officer with Vietnam service.

Lecture Series Chairman and Moderator

Nasir Memon

Nasir Memon

Lecture Series Chairman
Head, Computer Science Department
NYU Tandon School of Engineering
Nasir Memon is Head of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and Director of the Information Systems and Internet Security Laboratory at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. A founding member of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Security and Privacy (CRISSP), a collaborative initiative of several NYU schools, Prof. Memon’s research covers digital forensics, data compression, and multimedia computing and security. A Fellow of IEEE and a Distinguished Lecturer of IEEE Signal Processing Society, he is the author of more than 250 scholarly papers and holds a dozen patents. Recipient of several awards, including the NYU Engineering Jacobs Excellence in Education Award, Memon was Editor-in-Chief of Transactions on Information Security and Forensics.

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