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Homeland Security

American Forces Press Service

Advances Create Vulnerabilities, Cybercom Commander Says

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

BALTIMORE, Oct. 18, 2012 – The U.S. lead in cyber technology innovation has created both advances and vulnerabilities, the commander of U.S. Cyber Command said here last night.

Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander, who also is director of the National Security Agency, gave the keynote address before hundreds of industry leaders and technology experts at a dinner honoring the first 11 inductees into the new National Security Hall of Fame.

“We’re the country that made all this technology, … [and] it has had a significant positive impact on our country and the world,” Alexander said. “We’re the first to create it, [so] we ought to be the first to secure it.”

The job of protecting the nation’s cyber investment is not something NSA or the government can do alone, the general said. NSA, the Homeland Security Department, Cyber Command and the FBI must work as a team on the government side, and that team must work with industry, academia and U.S. allies, he explained.

The nonprofit National Cyber Security Hall of Fame was established this year to honor individuals and organizations that created the foundational building blocks for the cybersecurity industry. The Hall of Fame’s motto is “Respect the Past: Protect the future.”

Chairman Mike Jacobs said the evening was an opportunity to “recognize the men and women who have devoted their professional careers to protecting our systems against the threats and vulnerabilities they had the foresight to imagine in the past four decades.”

“From the code makers and code breakers stationed at outposts around the world, to tens of thousands of information security and assurance professionals working at universities, federal agencies and businesses throughout our country, we salute you,” he said.

The inaugural inductees work in the areas of technology, public policy, business education and public awareness, and were chosen from 300 nominations.

Dorothy Denning is a professor in Department of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School. In 1982, she published the first of four books and many articles on cybersecurity. Denning is recognized as one of the world's leading experts in information security.

Carl Landwehr is editor-in-chief of IEEE Security and Privacy Magazine and lead research scientist in the Cyber Security Policy and Research Institute at George Washington University. In 1976, he began developing prototypes in security modeling, database security and token-based authentication.

Peter Neumann is principal scientist at SRI International. In 1975 at SRI, he led the provably secure operating system project, which developed a important framework for verifying that the main component of an operating system meets its specification.

Roger Schell is president of AESec, a company that develops verifiably secure platforms. In 1983, he created the trusted computer system evaluation criteria, also called the Orange Book, for the Defense Department. This DOD standard was used to evaluate, classify and select computer systems being considered for the processing, storage and retrieval of sensitive or classified information.

Whitfield Diffie, Martin Hellman and Ralph Merkle invented the public key cryptograph. In 1974, Merkle created a public-key cryptosystem. Two years later, Diffie and Hellman, influenced by Merkle, published a fundamental paper called “New Directions in Cryptography,” which held that the nation stood on the brink of a revolution in cryptography.

Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adelman invented the RSA algorithm for public-key cryptography, a system requiring two separate keys -- one secret and one public. An RSA user creates and then publishes the product of two large prime numbers, along with an auxiliary value, as their public key. The prime factors must be kept secret. Anyone can use the public key to encrypt a message, but with currently published methods, if the public key is large enough, only someone with knowledge of the prime factors can feasibly decode the message.

F. Lynn McNulty was a federal information systems security pioneer named to the 2012 class posthumously. In 1970, he was among the first to recognize the need for stronger data security protections with the breakout of computer networks.

During the ceremony, each recipient received a crystal vase engraved with the National Cyber Security Hall of Fame shield, a framed embroidered wall hanging and a two-sided Hall of Fame founder’s coin.

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