Shared Risk at the National Scale

Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 7:00pm
AI Lab
Dan Geer

What, if any, risks to national infrastructure are there from attacks? Putting aside nation state actions that involve2 physical destruction of computer resources, is it possible to have a substantial impact? Does a high degree of dependence on computers level the playing field from the point of view of those would otherwise be minor actors? If you had to answer "What are the one or two biggest threats and how would we mitigate them?" what would you answer? Are there any lessons to learn from Nature or from fields such as public health? We will explore these connected issues and, yes, we will use the word "monoculture."

The meeting is free and open to the public. No pre-registration is required. An optional, pay-your-own dinner follows.
For more information: Peter Mager at

Slides from the talk are available here in PDF format.

Lecturer Biography: 

Dr. Daniel E. Geer, trained as a computer scientist and biostatistician, ran development for MIT's Project Athena out of which came the X Window System, Kerberos and most of the first versions of what we take for granted in the Internet of today. He founded what was probably the first information security consultancy. Widely published both in journals and the lay press, Dr. Geer has been active in professional life including eight years on the Board of the USENIX Association including two years as President. His 1998 speech, "Risk Management is Where the Money Is," changed the paradigm of both academic and commercial security development. He has testified at Congress multiple times and has served in an advisory capacity to the Departments of Justice, Defense, Commerce and Treasury, to the Federal Trade Commission, the National Institute of Justice, the National Research Council, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He holds several security related patents, is a serial entrepreneur, and serves in both fiduciary and non-fiduciary roles for a small set of promising startups.