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CISA Director Delivers Major Address at Carnegie Mellon

Media Inquiries
Peter Kerwin
University Communications & Marketing

On Feb. 27, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly(opens in new window) spent the day engaging the community at Carnegie Mellon University on the importance of technology product safety.

According to their website, "CISA works with partners to defend against today's threats and collaborate to build a more secure and resilient infrastructure for the future."

Easterly began her day at CMU with a national address entitled "Unsafe at Any CPU Speed: The Designed-in Dangers of Technology and What We Can Do About It." The address(opens in new window) pointed to Carnegie Mellon's role in educating the next generation of cybersecurity leaders and examined the need for the technology industry to create products that are secure — both secure by design and secure by default. The speech was followed by a fireside chat with CMU Vice President for Research Theresa Mayer.

Farnam Jahanian, Jen Easterly and Theresa Mayer

From left, Farnam Jahanian, Jen Easterly and Theresa Mayer.

"(Director Jen Easterly's) vast experience in federal government and in private sector brings a bold vision for transforming cybersecurity as we know it. Her vision challenges us to approach business, technology and consumer protections more holistically," said CMU President Farnam Jahanian(opens in new window) in his introduction. "It calls for building stronger detection and defense systems by reinventing the foundations of technology development and innovation. It's a vision for collaboration that we fully embrace here in Pittsburgh."

She discussed a multidisciplinary approach to cybersecurity as well as the imperative to create a cybersecurity culture that extends from K-12 classrooms to our communities, workplaces and corporate boardrooms.

Watch the full address, ""Unsafe at Any CPU Speed: The Designed-in Dangers of Technology and What We Can Do About It."

Following her address and fireside chat, Easterly engaged students by participating in a "Women in Cybersecurity" roundtable and attended Usable Privacy and Security and Cyber Risk Modeling classes. She shared stories and advice, answered questions and urged students to consider CISA as a potential next step in their careers, echoing a point she made during her address earlier in the day: "CISA and CMU share a common set of values — collaboration, innovation, inclusion, empathy, impact and service. And of course, a shared passion for our work."

Researchers from CMU's CyLab Security and Privacy Institute(opens in new window) and the CERT Division(opens in new window) of the Software Engineering Institute(opens in new window) are often called upon by government organizations like CISA to provide expertise on security and technology issues. Through these relationships, CMU experts help shape public policy to strengthen the nation's cybersecurity posture while educating the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.

"This is where the next generation of software engineers and innovators are learning their craft." — Jen Easterly

Easterly took time in the afternoon to nurture these relationships and to see some of the research happening on campus firsthand.

The director visited CyLab and attended a demonstration of picoCTF(opens in new window), which the School of Computer Science(opens in new window) describes as a computer security education program created by CMU security and privacy experts that offers users a safe and unique hands-on experience as they reverse-engineer, break, hack, decrypt and think creatively and critically to solve challenges and capture digital flags while learning and practicing cybersecurity principles.

Easterly tours campus

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly tours a lab at CMU after her address.

Easterly concluded her day on campus by attending a "Future Enterprise Security" research briefing at CyLab, visiting SCS' Mission Control and the Robotics Institute(opens in new window)'s Robotics Lab to learn about CMU's space initiatives like the MoonRanger(opens in new window) and Iris(opens in new window) moon rovers, and holding conversations with members of the SEI.

"One of the main reasons I wanted to come to CMU is because of the strength of your computer science and software engineering programs — because this is where the next generation of software engineers and innovators are learning their craft," Easterly said during her morning remarks. "For the professors here this morning, you are responsible for the education of some of our nation's brightest young minds and for the knowledge they bring into the working world."

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