Closing Plenary: Information Security Programs in Academia

Presented at ShmooCon XII (2016), Jan. 17, 2016, 1 p.m. (60 minutes)

As information security grows nearly exponentially, it's hard to remember back 15 years ago to a time when the industry was just starting to take off. At that time, most of the individuals in this industry were self taught with respect to this discipline. There were only a few handful of information security programs in academia. Contrast that to today where there are hundreds of programs across the nation with new ones springing up every semester. As far as academia goes, that kind of growth incredibly fast. Building of curriculum, finding professors, and filling the pipeline with students can take decades as new disciplines emerge. However, in the case of information security, academia has been put in to the position of "building the bus while going down the road."<br /><br />This panel will examine the current state of information security programs in academia. The panelists will discuss issues around dealing with administration and the peculiarities of information security, the current state of information security research, attracting and vetting students, and generally what its like to be growing the next generation of information security professionals.


  • Jeff Foster
    Jeffrey S. Foster is Professor and Associate Chair for Graduate Education in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland, College Park. Jeff received the Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. Jeff's research focuses on developing programming languages and software engineering approaches to making software easier to write, more reliable, and more secure. Some of his recent efforts include improving security and privacy on Android; developing type systems for Ruby; exploring program synthesis for automatically constructing program code from specifications; and creating new approaches to safely update software at run time.
  • Rick Forno
    Dr. Richard Forno directs the Graduate Cybersecurity Program, serves as the Assistant Director of UMBC's Center for Cybersecurity, and is a Junior Affiliate Scholar at the Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society (CIS). His twenty-year career spans the government, military, and private sector, including helping build a formal cybersecurity program for the US House of Representatives, serving as the first Chief Security Officer for the InterNIC, and co-founding the CyberMaryland conference. Richard was also one of the early thought leaders on the subject of "information warfare" and he remains a longtime commentator on the influence of Internet technology upon society.
  • Greg Conti
    Gregory Conti (@cyberbgone) is an Associate Professor and served as Director of the Army Cyber Institute at West Point. He is the author of Security Data Visualization (No Starch Press) and Googling Security (Addison-Wesley), as well as approximately 75 articles and papers covering cyber conflict, online privacy, information security education, and security data visualization. He has spoken at numerous security conferences, including Black Hat, DEF CON, CyCon, HOPE, Interz0ne, ShmooCon, and RSA.
  • Matt Blaze (moderator)
    Matt Blaze (moderator) is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studies cryptography, secure systems, surveillance, physical security, and public policy.