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Explorations of Science in Cyber Security

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Wei Ming Khoo.

A scientific perspective on cyber security (a “science of cyber security”) is growing as a sound and respected area of research. In this talk we discuss how an empirical perspective enhances our understanding of how to create efficiently secure cyber infrastructure. In particular we discuss four questions that reflect “delusions” that we at the CERT Program see as endemic in the practice of cyber security.

  1. If code correctness is improving, why do exploits continue to rely on known avoidable programming mistakes?
  2. If policies are effective, why do unimplemented or ineffective policies continue to be an enabling element of major incidents?
  3. If monitoring provides useful situational awareness, why do so many significant intrusions remain undetected for weeks? months? years?
  4. If proficient response capabilities exist, why are even sophisticated victims challenged to quickly and effectively investigate, mitigate and recover?

We discuss our recent work in synthetic data generation and other work at CERT that strives to take sound scientific approaches to understanding and solving the challenges of creating and operation efficiently secure cyber infrastructure.

Some of the publicly available cyber security information and tools from the CERT Program include:

Secure Coding,


Cyber Training,

Insider Threats,


Network Monitoring,

Fuzz Testing,

Additional information is available at and in the 2010 CERT Research Report,

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Security Seminar series.

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