Robert Cunningham moderates cyber-security forum

Dr. Robert Cunningham, associate leader of the Information Systems Technology Group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, is helping the nation meet the challenges presented by the reliance on computers to manage the nation's power grids, energy distribution systems, and business enterprises. On 6 October in Washington, D.C., Cunningham, a leading member of the Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection (I3P) and an expert on information-technology security, moderated a forum that examined the security of the nation's physical infrastructures, including the electric grid, oil and gas operations, and transportation.

"We were delighted when Rob Cunningham was asked to moderate the second forum," says Dr. Eric Evans, Director of Lincoln Laboratory. "Not only is Lincoln Laboratory an active member in the I3P consortium, but Rob has great expertise in the area of process control system security."

The October forum brought together top U.S. cyber-security researchers from universities, federally funded research and development centers, and national laboratories, as well as key government personnel from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and Energy. Speakers included Prof. Bill Sanders of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Prof. Patrick McDaniel of Penn State, and Prof. Kang Shin of the University of Michigan. The focus was identifying and prioritizing major information security problems facing our nation. "We believe the consortium approach is key to addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by information security," said Martin Wybourne, vice provost for research at Dartmouth and principal investigator of the I3P, "and we have been delighted to work with MIT Lincoln Laboratory on this as well as other I3P programs."

The October session is the second of three high-level forums convened by the I3P consortium in partnership with a U.S. Senate Committee. Senator Joseph Lieberman (I, Conn.) and Senator Susan Collins (R, Maine), Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Senate Homeland Security Committee served as honorary cochairs of the sessions. Information gathered during the three events is being compiled into a report that summarizes the forums' findings and frames cyber-security research and development needs in the U.S. for the next five years. Slated for publication in January, the report will offer a cyber-security road map for the incoming Administration.

The I3P, which is managed by Dartmouth College, is a national consortium of academic institutions, federally funded research institutions, and nonprofit organizations dedicated to strengthening the information infrastructure. In addition to guiding and supporting research, the I3P is committed to finding solutions to infrastructure vulnerabilities, facilitating technology transfer, and forging collaborative alliances with key stakeholders.

Posted December 2008

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