NSA Official to Call for Stronger Partnerships, Greater Focus to Enhance U.S. Cyber Security

In response to escalating cyber attacks on the nation's security, infrastructure and business, Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) in alliance with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation will host a high-level conversation among key government, industry and academic officials. 

Debora A. Plunkett, who oversees the National Security Agency’s directorate charged with protecting critical information and information systems, will lead the discussion – calling for strong, coordinated measures to meet growing cyber threats.

In the second in a series of open lectures sponsored by the Sloan Foundation, Plunkett will emphasize the need to build a robust cyber security workforce and to approach cyber as a team sport – with collaboration among officials from government, academia and private industry.

In a July speech, NSA Director Gen. Keith B. Alexander cited a 17-fold increase in attacks on the nation’s infrastructure between 2009 and 2011. He also said that American preparedness for a serious cyber attack on a critical part of U.S. infrastructure warrants “around a three” on a scale of 1 to 10.

Following Plunkett's talk, “Defending Cyberspace: Are We Ready?” she will be joined by expert panelists Joanne Martin, IBM vice president for information technology risk;  Bill Phelps, Accenture managing director and leader of its North American security practice; and William J. Wansely, Booz Allen Hamilton senior vice president who leads the firm's work in advanced cyber assessment and remediation.

Plunkett previously served as a director on the National Security Council under both Presidents Bush and Clinton, helping shape critical infrastructure protection and cyber security policy and programs.

NYU-Poly President Jerry M. Hultin, a former under secretary of the Navy who led a post-9/11 study on New York and New Jersey port security, will welcome panelists and guests.

“As one of the nation’s first institutions to offer a cyber security graduate degree, NYU-Poly has been a leader in educating the next generation of cyber protectors," said Hultin. "It's time to acknowledge the urgency of the cyber threat to deploy high-impact solutions across all sectors."

The Sloan/NYU-Poly cyber security lecture will be held on Friday, September 7, 2012, on NYU-Poly’s downtown Brooklyn campus. To register, go to http://engineering.nyu.edu/sloanseries/defending-cyberspace.php.  The event will be streamed live at http://engineering.nyu.edu/live.

Nasir Memon, professor of NYU-Poly's Computer Science and Engineering Department, will chair the event and moderate the panel. He is director of NYU-Poly’s Information Systems and Internet Security Lab.

NYU-Poly is an internationally recognized center for cyber security research, education and policy. It is a National Security Agency Center of Excellence in Information Assurance and a Center of Excellence in Research. NYU-ePoly, the online learning unit, delivers 20 online graduate programs worldwide, including NYU-Poly’s virtual cyber security program, which was named the nation’s best online program by the Sloan Consortium. NYU-Poly has joined with NYU schools to form the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Security and Privacy (CRISSP). The consortium researches new approaches to security and privacy by combining security technology, psychology, law, public policy and business.

The NYU-Poly Sloan Lecture Series is funded by the Sloan Foundation’s Civic Initiatives program, which supports unique opportunities to benefit the New York City metropolitan area. The foundation supports original research and educational initiatives related to science, technology and economic performance.