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How the Internet Became Untrustworthy

  • Tom Berson

About the Topic: The Internet in 2014 is a marvelous communication utility. It provides cheap and fast transfer of information to and from most places on or near the surface of Earth. It also regularly betrays that information to curious onlookers, commercial entities, criminals, and governments.  We will explore the origins of the Internet, the workings of its core protocols, exploits which take advantage of those protocols, and feeble attempts to make those protocols secure. In sum, we will describe the devolution of the Internet from a peaceful commons to the jungle it is today.

About the Speaker: Tom Berson is a CISAC affiliate and the founder of Anagram Laboratories. He is a cryptographer who views cryptography broadly as the science and ethics of trust and betrayal. He has spent his career working both the defensive and the offensive sides of the information security battle and is attracted most strongly to security issues raised at the confluence of technology, business, and world events.

Tom is a student of Sun Tzu’s Art of War and its applicability to modern information conflict. He was the first person to be named a Fellow of the International Association for Cryptologic Research. His citation reads, “For visionary and essential service and for numerous valuable contributions to the technical, social, and commercial development of cryptology and security.” He was an editor of the Journal of Cryptology for fourteen years. He is a Past-Chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Security and Privacy.

Tom earned a B.S. in physics from the State University of New York in 1967 and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of London in 1977. He was a Visiting Fellow in Mathematics in the University of Cambridge, and is a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge. Tom has been a member of several National Research Council committees: including the Committee on Computer Security in the Department of Energy, the Committee to Review DoD C4I Plans and Programs, and the Committee on Offensive Information Warfare.