Dave Farber, Internet’s “Grandfather,” Seeks to Cut through Fog of Cyberwar

Over the last few years, the rhetoric if not the actuality of cyberwarfare has been escalating. Every day, it seems, the media report on alleged cyberattacks–by nations, terrorist organizations or criminal gangs–against U.S. governmental institutions and corporations. Many of these allegations are being made by individuals or groups thatstand to benefit from increased funding for cybersecurity, and whose claims cannot be verified because details are classified.

Seeking guidance, I turned to legendary computer scientist Dave Farber, a professor at Carnegie Mellon who has also worked for or with Bell Labs, Rand, the FCC, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and many other institutions. Farber is sometimes called the “Grandfather of the Internet” both because of his pioneering work in distributed computing and his mentoring of graduate students who helped build the Internet. He remains deeply involved in debates over how to maximize benefits and minimize risks of the Internet. (SeeFarber’s resume on Wikipedia.)

I have gotten to know Farber because he is an active alumnus of Stevens Institute of Technology, where I teach. I am also on a listserve that he moderates, “Interesting People.” What follows is my summary of our recent conversation in New York City...

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