Pitt’s new cyber institute, a ‘mecca for new solutions,’ to discuss Russian hacking

David Hickton, former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pa., leads The Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security.

University of Pittsburgh

University of Pittsburgh

Desiree Williams / FLICKR
MJ Slaby

A new institute at Pitt wants to be the go-to place for discussions about solving cyber problems.

First up: A panel about Russian hacking and the U.S. election.

The panel “Russian Hacking: What Do We Know and How Is This Different?” on Feb. 2  is the first event from the Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security at Pitt, led by David Hickton, former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Hickton told The Incline that he wants the institute, which launched this semester, to be the place that people come for discussions like these, and the institute will host several each year.

This panel will address a variety of questions from “What is the state of Russian activities in cyberspace?” to questions about the historical context, misconceptions, finding common ground and “Ultimately, how should the U.S. and other countries respond?” according to Pitt’s website.

Hickton will moderate the panel, and Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama to serve on the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, will be a keynote speaker. The panel includes:

  • Luke Dembosky, a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and the former deputy assistant attorney general for national security. He was also a justice department representative at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow from 2010 to 2013.
  • Keith Mularski, a supervisory special agent who has led investigations of high-profile cybercrime at the FBI
  • Ellen Nakashima, a national security reporter at The Washington Post
  • Andrei Soldatov, a Russian investigative journalist and security services expert

When it comes to all things cyber, from security to polices and law, there are so many questions, especially around privacy, Hickton said, adding that there is no general acceptance for what’s private online. Technology is developing so quickly, that those addressing cybersecurity challenges can’t keep up, he said.

“It’s the internet of things,” he said, adding that “the more devices that are connected to the internet, the more mischief is possible.”

Hickton was the U.S. Attorney for Western Pa. from 2010 to November, when he resigned following the presidential election. During his tenure, he led work in multiple cybercrime cases, including the indictments of five members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

Now that he’s at Pitt, Hickton said he wants the institute to focus on headline projects around cybersecurity, as well as discoveries and innovations. He said his goal is for the institute to be a “mecca for new solutions.”

What do we know about Russian hacking?

Listen to an expert panel discuss Russian hacking from its context to cyber tools to possible responses. The event is led by the Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security at Pitt.

Where:University of Pittsburgh School of Law's Teplitz Memorial Courtroom at 3900 Forbes Ave. (Oakland)

When:February 2, 2017 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

How much:Free

Or you can watch a live stream of the event here.