The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS)

The Center for Education and Research in
Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS)


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A Common Theme


A recent visit and conversation with Steve Crocker prompted me to think about how little the current security landscape has really changed from the past. I started looking through some of my archives, and that was what prompted my recent post here: Things are not getting better.

I posted that and it generated a fair bit of comment over on LinkedIn, which then led to me making some comments about how the annual RSA conference doesn’t reflect some of the real problems I worry about, and wondering about attendance. That, in turn, led me to remember a presentation I started giving about 6 years ago (when I was still invited to give talks at various places). It needed one editorial correction, and it is still valid today. I think it outlines some of the current problematic aspects of security in the commercial space, and security research. Here it is: Rethinking Security. This is a set of presentation slides without speaker notes or an audio recording of me presenting them, but I think you’ll get the ideas from it.

Coincident to this, an essay I wrote in conjunction with Steven Furnell, of the University of Plymouth in the UK, appeared in the British Computing Society’s online list. It describes how some things we’ve known about for 30 years are still problems in deployed security. Here’s that column: The Morris worm at 30.

Steve and I are thinking about putting something together to provide an overview of our 80+ years combined experience with security and privacy observations. As I delve more into my archives, I may be reposting more here. You may also be interested in some videos of some of my past talks, that I wrote about in this blog last year.

In the meantime, continue to build connected home thermostats and light bulbs that spy on the residents, and network-connected shoes that fail in ways preventing owners from being able to wear them, among other abominations. I'll be here, living in the past, trying to warn you.

PS. The 20th CERIAS Symposium is approaching! Consider attending. More details are online.

Things are not getting better


I was reminded this morning that nearly 10 years ago testimony I gave before a US Senate committee about cybersecurity. Sadly, I think things are worse and we are continuing on the same self-destructive path.

Here is a copy of that testimony.

Anybody who thinks tools and patching are the solutions doesn't understand the problems.

Now that the government has decreed our national focus should be on quantum and artificial intelligence, things are likely to get worse even faster -- those technologies will introduce new vulnerabilities faster than they may fix any, especially as vendors seek to rush items to market.

CERIAS continues to be a bright spot, but there is so much more we (at CERIAS, and more globally) could do if we had the resources.

In early April is the 20th CERIAS Symposium. I invite you to attend to see what Purdue's continuing efforts are accomplishing, and especially to meet some of our bright and motivated students, and connect with some of our tremendously talented faculty and staff.