There are few tools that have as much potential for good and ill as the internet. It can be a catalyst for economic growth and social change, but can also wreak havoc on financial and commercial networks, undermine democratic processes, and stifle dissent.
Efforts to identify, understand, and address the risks that arise from our reliance on the internet are insufficient and often reactive rather than proactive. Attempts to manage cybersecurity are constrained by outdated organizational and institutional frameworks, outpaced by new technologies used by malicious actors, and subject to the significant challenge of collaborating across public and private sectors.
Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and other new technologies continue to create ways to both implement cyberattacks and to defend against them. We are not doing enough to mitigate the former and to take advantage of the latter.
On September 25, 2018, Columbia World Projects (CWP) held a Forum with about 35 experts from inside and outside Columbia University. The meeting was designed to deepen understanding of complex cybersecurity challenges and identify promising projects that CWP could implement to reduce the threats and vulnerabilities posed by the internet without undermining its capacity for good. Before the meeting, experts worked with CWP staff to develop more than a dozen project proposals, which we discussed and evaluated during the Forum.
Working Groups and Project Proposals
Forum participants were divided into working groups organized by theme: critical infrastructure; privacy; information challenges in social media; standards, benchmarks, and best practices; and norms and deterrence.
Subject matter experts were assigned to the groups to reflect their complementary fields of knowledge, background, and school of thought on the topic. Each working group was asked to evaluate several project proposals developed in advance by participants and CWP staff.
Read more about the project proposals and the working group discussions in our Forum report.
Cybersecurity Working Groups
- Critical infrastructure add
- Privacy add
- Information challenges in social media add
- Standards, benchmarks, and best practices add
- Norms and deterrence add
Lee C. BollingerPresident, Columbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Lee C. Bollinger became Columbia University’s nineteenth president in 2002. Under his leadership, Columbia stands again at the very top rank of great research universities, distinguished...
Magdi AminInvestment Partner for Digital Identity, Omidyar NetworkRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Magdi Amin is an Investment Partner with Omidyar Network (ON) in Washington, DC, where he focuses on global strategy and investments in Digital Identity, with a particular focus on the US and Africa.
Emily BellProfessor of Professional Practice and Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Emily Bell is founding director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism and a leading thinker, commentator, and strategist on digital journalism.
Josh BenalohSenior Cryptographer at Microsoft ResearchDirector of the International Association for Cryptologic ResearchRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Josh Benaloh is Senior Cryptographer at Microsoft Research and an affiliate faculty member in the School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington.
Hon. John O. BrennanFormer Director, Central Intelligence AgencyDistinguished Fellow at Fordham Law School and the University of Texas at AustinRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
John O. Brennan currently serves as a Distinguished Fellow at the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School, a Distinguished Scholar at the University of Texas at Austin, a senior...
Geoffrey BuswickLead Analytical Manager, U.S. Public Finance Infrastructure Group at S&P Global RatingsRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Geoffrey Buswick is a Managing Director and Sector Leader in the U.S. Public Finance - Governments team at S&P Global Ratings in Boston. Buswick focuses on developing research and...
Thomas DonahueFormer Senior Director for Cyber Operations at the National Security CouncilRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Thomas Donahue — who currently works at the environmental and energy consulting firm SC&A, Inc. and serves as a cyber advisor to The Cipher Brief – retired from CIA after 32 years of service.
Hon. Thomas E. DonilonFormer National Security Adviser to the PresidentChair of the Presidential Commission to Enhance National Cybersecurity; Chairman of the BlackRock Investment InstituteRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Thomas E. Donilon is Chairman of the BlackRock Investment Institute and Senior of Counsel at the international law firm of O’Melveny & Myers. He served as National Security Advisor...
Scott FlomIT Director, Travis County Clerk’s Office, TexasRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Scott Flom has spent over 20 years in Executive Management, including Operations, Product Management, and Information Technology. This includes work in the Elections Systems, Equipment...
Ben FriedChief Information Officer, GoogleRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Ben Fried is Google’s Chief Information Officer, overseeing the technologies that make Googlers go. He’s the New York office Tech Site Lead, responsible for 3,000 Googlers in the company’s...
Nathaniel GleicherHead of Cybersecurity Policy at FacebookRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Nathaniel Gleicher is a computer scientist and a lawyer, and works at the intersection of technology, policy, and law. He has taught computer programming, built and secured computer networks...
Donna GreggHead of Asymmetric Operations at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics LaboratoryRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Donna Gregg is the Sector Head for the Asymmetric Operations Sector at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), where she is responsible for more than 1,300 staff...
Avril D. HainesFormer Deputy DirectorRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Avril Haines was the Deputy Director of Columbia World Projects from 2017-2020. She now serves as director of national intelligence in the Biden administration.
Jason HealeySenior Research Scholar in the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Jason Healey is Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs, specializing in cyber conflict and risk. He started his career as a US Air...
Dana J. HydeVenture Partner, JVPFormer CEO of the Millennium Challenge CorporationRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Dana Hyde is a senior executive with over 25 years of experience in law, public policy, and international development. She served eight years in the Obama Administration, as Chief Executive...
Jameel JafferExecutive Director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Jameel Jaffer is inaugural director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. Previously, he was deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, where...
Merit JanowDean of the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Merit E. Janow is an internationally recognized expert in international trade and investment, with extensive experience in academia, government, international organizations, and business.
Sam JeffersCo-founder of Who Targets MeRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Jeffers is the co-founder of Who Targets Me (https://whotargets.me), software to help voters understand how political campaigns are chasing their vote using social media advertising.
Eric JohnsonProfessor of Business at Columbia Business School and Director of the Center for the Decision SciencesRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Eric Johnson is the Norman Eig Chair of Business and Director of the Center for Decision Sciences at Columbia Business School. His research examines the interface between behavioral decision...
The Hon. Jeh JohnsonPartner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLPFormer Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland SecurityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Jeh Johnson is a partner with the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and the former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security (2013- 2017).
Ira KatznelsonDeputy DirectorRuggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Ira Katznelson is Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History at Columbia University. His 2013 book, "Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time," received the Bancroft...
Nicholas LemannDirectorDirector, Columbia Global Reports; Joseph Pulitzer II and Edith Pulitzer Moore Professor of Journalism; Dean Emeritus of the Faculty of JournalismRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Nicholas Lemann directs Columbia World Projects as well as Columbia Global Reports, a book publishing venture that commissions reporting around the world on a wide range of political...
Charles LuftigPolicy and Standards Lead, Bridgewater AssociatesRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Charles Luftig is the Head of Security Policy for Bridgewater Associates. Prior to working at Bridgewater, he served as the Deputy General Counsel at the Office of Management and Budget at the White House.
Michael LyntonChairman of Snap, Inc.Read Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Michael Lynton served as the CEO of Sony Entertainment from April 2012 until February 2017, overseeing Sony’s global entertainment businesses, including Sony Music Entertainment, Sony/ATV...
John J. MacWilliamsColumbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
John J. MacWilliams is a Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. Prior to joining CGEP, MacWilliams served as Associate Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department...
Erel MargalitFounder and Chairman of JVPRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Erel N. Margalit, Ph.D., founded JVP over 24 years ago, and is one of the chief architects of the startup nation, bringing innovation and entrepreneurial leadership to the country’s...
Mike MasnickFounder and CEO, Floor64Editor, Techdirt BlogRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Mike Masnick is the founder & editor of the popular Techdirt blog as well as the founder of the Silicon Valley think tank, the Copia Institute. In both roles, he explores the intersection...
Hon. Denis McDonoughSenior Principal, Markle FoundationRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Denis McDonough served as White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama from February 1, 2013 to January 20, 2017. In this role, he managed a four-thousand-member White House staff...
James MillerPresident and CEO, Adaptive Strategies LLCFormer Under Secretary of Defense for PolicyRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Dr. James N. Miller is President and CEO of Adaptive Strategies LLC, which advises clients on technology issues and building organizational capacity.
Hon. Lisa MonacoFormer Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and CounterterrorismCo-Chair, Aspen Institute Cyber GroupRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Lisa Monaco has spent more than two decades in public service and in senior management and advisory positions in law enforcement and national security. As the President’s Homeland Security...
Kate O’SullivanGeneral Manager, MicrosoftRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Kate O’Sullivan is the general manager of Digital Diplomacy within Microsoft’s Corporate, External and Legal Affairs Department. In this role, O’Sullivan leads Microsoft’s global...
Sean RocheAssociate Deputy Director, CIA for Digital InnovationRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Sean P. Roche is a senior government executive with more than 37 years of federal service. In March 2015, he was named Associate Deputy Director of CIA for Digital Innovation, serving...
Henning SchulzrinneProfessor, Department of Computer Science, Columbia UniversityFormer Chief Technology Officer for the United States Federal Communications CommissionRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Prof. Henning Schulzrinne, Levi Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University, received his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Simha SethumadhavenAssociate Professor of Computer Science, Columbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Simha Sethumadhavan is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. Sethumadhavan’s research at Columbia is focused on finding practical solutions to problems in...
Brad SmithPresident and Chief Legal Officer of MicrosoftRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Brad Smith serves as the President of Microsoft Corporation. He leads a team of 1,500 professionals working in 56 countries, where they are responsible for the company’s legal work...
Alissa StarzakDirector of Public Policy, CloudflareRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Alissa Starzak is the Head of Policy at Cloudflare, a web security and optimization company. Prior to joining Cloudflare, Starzak worked for the U.S government in a variety of national...
Salvatore StolfoProfessor of Computer Science, Columbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Salvatore Stolfo has been a Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University since 1979. He is credited as creating the area of machine learning applied to intrusion detection in cybersecurity...
Matthew WaxmanLiviu Librescu Professor of Law, Columbia Law SchoolRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Matthew C. Waxman is the Liviu Librescu Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, where he directs the national security law program. He is also co-chair of the Cybersecurity Center at...
Jeannette M. WingAvanessians Director of the Data Science Institute and Professor of Computer Science, Columbia UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Jeannette M. Wing is Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute and Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. From 2013 to 2017, she was a Corporate Vice President...
Major General (ret.) Amos YadlinDirector of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Tel Aviv UniversityRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Major General (ret.) Amos Yadlin has been the Director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Israel's leading strategic think tank, since November 2011.
A project that emerged from this Forum, Improving Election Security and Public Confidence in Elections, is currently in development. Development of another project, Building a Digital Identity System that is Secure and Private, was discontinued in agreement with the project team and prospective partners.
We welcome your input
If you have suggestions related to the projects selected from the cybersecurity Forum, email us and we'll share your thoughts with the CWP project team.