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Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security

Fireside Chat (Symposium Summary)

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Panel Members:

  • Mike McConnell, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Rand Beers, DHS
  • Eugene H. Spafford, CERIAS

Summary by Derril Lucci

The fireside chat saw Admiral John McConnell, the Honorable Rand Beers, and Professor Eugene Spafford discuss some of the issues in security today. One of the first topics covered was how technology will change business and society. Admiral McConnell made a point to mention that once every 50 years, a new technology comes along that revolutionizes the way in which things are done. Among the examples included the gin mill and the textile industry. Another topic that was discussed was the need for a new internet. What is meant by this is a need for an internet that can go through a trusted third party. This new idea, they believe, will make for a safer internet. This lead to the debate about the innovation of cyberspace versus security. Security can be viewed as a restriction to the innovation of cyberspace because it is a tradeoff between standards and regulation. Admiral McConnell also discussed a potential threat to our banks. He said that every day, $7 trillion dollars is moved by two banks in New York City. If these transmissions are ever interrupted, coupled with a well timed terrorist attack, it could topple both the U.S. banking and the global banking industry. This is why both Admiral McConnell and Secretary Beers have lobbied for action by the government to set up a plan to prevent this. However, they both stressed that the U.S. government has a history of dragging its feet when it comes to this matter, and they feel that the U.S. will not do anything until the event has already occurred. Furthermore, Secretary Beers called for academic institutions to come together and decide where we want to go, as a Network/Cyber security community. Admiral McConnell said that it is up to future generations to devise schemes to lower the risk of attacks by those who wish to change the world order.

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