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Blueprint for a Science of Cybersecurity

Dr. Fred B. Schneider

Cornell University

Tue, Nov 29, 5:30 PM–7:30 PM
Riggs Library


Cyber-security today is focused largely on defending against known attacks. We learn about the latest attack and find a patch to defend against it. Our defenses thus improve only after they have been successfully penetrated. This is a recipe to ensure some attackers succeed---not a recipe for achieving system trustworthiness.

We must move beyond reacting to yesterday's attacks and instead start building systems whose trustworthiness derives from first principles. Yet, today we lack such a science base for cybersecurity. That science of security would have to include attacks, defense mechanisms, and security properties; its laws would characterize how these relate. This talk will discuss examples of such laws and suggest avenues for future exploration.


Dr. Fred B. Schneider is Samuel B. Eckert Professor of Computer Science at Cornell University. He is Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1992), the Association of Computing Machinery (1995), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (2008). The U.S. National Academy of Engineering elected Schneider to membership in 2011. Among his many engagements, Schneider has testified about cybersecurity research at hearings of the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee (subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats, and Capabilities), as well as the Committee on Science and Technology (subcommittee on Technology and Innovation and subcommittee on Research and Science Education).