Photo Credit: Dan Archer, Archcomix
Cybersecurity Threats and the Future of the InternetCISAC Platform
Global dependence on the Internet expands by leaps and bandwidth every day. Nations depend on a cyber infrastructure that enables the operation of financial markets, transportation networks, taxation and energy grids, as well as the public agencies protecting the health and security of their citizens. Large global multinationals and small local businesses and startups use the online infrastructure to facilitate economic and technological innovation. Defense and intelligence agencies depend on cyber networks to manage far-flung operations, analyze intelligence data and implement homeland security, military logistics and emergency services.
With this growth come ever-greater risks as well as opportunities. Advanced persistent threats reflect the risks posed by adversaries with the sophistication, resources and determination to cause real and permanent damage by exploiting the architecture of networks, and of cyberspace itself. Because the Internet is an evolving technology that carries enormous potential and vulnerabilities, cybersecurity problems implicate questions of Internet freedom, network architecture and the economic potential for cyberspace. Therefore, cyber infrastructure should be studied in tandem with the complex networks of organizations and transnational flows of material and information that are already strong areas of research embedded in the CISAC mission.
CISAC scholars are putting Stanford at the center of research on cybersecurity and the future of the Internet, drawing on experts from across campus and around the globe. World-renown cryptographers Whitfield Diffie, a CICAS affiliate, and Martin Hellman, an affiliated faculty member, are pioneers of the public-key cryptography that today is the underpinning of e-commerce security. Both are among the inaugural inductees to the National Cyber Security Hall of Fame.
Privacy and Internet freedoms in countries whose government restrict the use of social media and Web browsing, as well as the use of information technologies by organized crime and individual hackers, are all topics driving the innovative work underway at CISAC. The threats of cyber warfare and the effectiveness of cybersecurity protections erected by the United States and other nations are animating CISAC’s activities.
Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a professor at Stanford Law School, conducts research on transnational crime and non-state actors as well as the emerging legal issues raised by efforts to manage cybersecurity threats. Affiliated CISAC faculty member John Mitchell focuses on computer security and network protocols; Barbara van Schewick, another affiliated faculty member, researches the economic, regulatory and strategic implications of communications networks. Dan Boneh, a CISAC affiliated faculty member, is a professor of computer science and electrical engineering and teaches cryptography and computer security at the Stanford Security Laboratory.
The center has led a series of cybersecurity activities to analyze the complex nature of these emerging challenges, ones that raise profound questions about the architecture that will govern people and information in the decades ahead. Former CISAC fellow, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nation’s Human Rights Council, brought three-dozen diplomats from around the world to Stanford in February 2012 to meet with scholars, Internet activists and Silicon Valley business leaders to address questions about a free and open Internet.
CISAC has hosted discussions about cybersecurity and the future of the Internet, featuring, among others, Congressman Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; Anna Eshoo, ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology; Stewart Baker, former Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Homeland Security; Jonathan Zittrain, a law and computer science professor at Harvard University; and David Bishop, engineering and materials science professor at Boston University.
CISAC is now offering fellowships in cybersecurity studies. Click here to learn more
Feb 2, 2012