Guest Lecture Dr. Phyllis A. Schneck

Dr. Phyllis A. Schneck, Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is going to facilitate us with her lecture on “The Need for Speed”

Phyllis Schneck, Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications, NPPD

“The Need for Speed”


As computers get faster, they change the world. Processors get smaller, the number of devices with processors gets bigger, and the amount of information that can be produced and transported grows exponentially. Everything on the planet, unless one can eat it, is likely to have electronic logic within – and, most recently, to be connected to other devices. Our way of life and critical infrastructures, from power and water to finance is enabled by this ability to process light, and transport information at that speed. The speed of computing is enabling new conveniences and capabilities, and furthering science in directions never before imagined from DNA studies to particle physics. This amazingly connected world, however, introduces new vulnerabilities as many connected devices were not designed to be safe from unauthorized access and use. We must pay special attention to protecting infrastructure components such as information and the intricate signaling systems that generate and distribute electricity. This requires specialized algorithms to mine the masses of data to recognize normal internet activity from potential threat indicators. The goal is to create a more self-healing network, accomplishing with information what nature does with biological responses – creating an electronic immune system. Cognitive computing can provide groundbreaking results in data mining and analysis that will enhance the Cybersecurity to protect the other applications such as genomic and physics research. Software and hardware developers need to work together to create the algorithms and custom hardware to minimize heat, maximize computation and, finally, create a secure design.

We can use the speed of computing to enhance Cybersecurity as well – thus the paradox of the need for speed to protect itself.

Lecture Details:

Date: Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Time: 3:30 PM

Venue: UC 310



Dr. Phyllis Schneck serves as the Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications for the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD).  She is the chief cybersecurity official for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and supports its mission of strengthening the security and resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructure.

Schneck came to DHS from McAfee, Inc., where she was Chief Technology Officer for Global Public Sector. Schneck served eight years as chairman of the National Board of Directors of the FBI’s InfraGard program and founding president of InfraGard Atlanta.

Before joining McAfee, Schneck was vice president of Research Integration for Secure Computing, where she conceived and built the early intelligence practice into a full Beta program for data as a service. Prior, Schneck was the vice president Enterprise Services for eCommSecurity. Prior to that, she served as vice president of Corporate Strategy for SecureWorks, Inc., and was the founder and chief executive officer of Avalon Communications, a provider of real-time security technology, since acquired by SecureWorks, Inc.

Schneck received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Georgia Tech.


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