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Past Talks

John Stewart EPRI

John Stewart
Sr. Technical Leader, Cyber Security, EPRI
Securing Grid Control Systems
Friday, January 12, 2018
Sudikoff L045 Trust Lab
12:00 Noon

M. Todd Henderson

M. Todd Henderson
Professor of Law, University of Chicago
Hacking Trust: How the Social Technology of Cooperation Will Revolutionize Government
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Room 003, Rockefeller Center
Sponsored by: Rockefeller Center

Dr. Liz Bowman

Dr. Elizabeth Bowman
U.S. Army Research Laboratory
Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Information: Army Social Computing Research
Tuesday, December 5th
Haldeman 041 Kreindler Conference Room
4:00 PM

Dr. Fabio Pierazzi

Dr. Fabio Pierazzi
Royal Holloway University of London
Network Security Analytics for Detection of Advanced Cyberattacks
Tuesday, November 28th
Sudikoff Trust Lab (L045)
12:30 PM

V.S. Subrahmanian

V.S. Subrahmanian
Dartmouth Distinguished Professor in Cybersecurity, Technology, and Society
Bots, Socks, and Vandals
Tuesday, November 14th
Carson L01
5:00 PM 

Rand Beers

Rand Beers ('64)
Big Data, the Internet, and Social Media:  The Road to the November 2016 Election
Wednesday, November 8th
Haldeman 41 (Kreindler Conference Hall)
4:30 PM 

Fright Night Imge

Wanna See Something REALLY Scary?
ISTS Looks at the Dark Web on Halloween Night
Tuesday, October 31st
udikoff  045 Trust Lab (dungeon)
7:30 PM - RSVP
Space is Limited 

Sal Stolfo

Salvatore J. Stolfo 
Columbia University
A Brief History of Symbiote Defense
Tuesday, October 31st
Rockefeller 003
5:00 PM

Dan Wallach

STAR-Vote: A Secure, Transparent, Auditable and Reliable Voting System

Professor Dan Wallach
Rice University
Thursday April 27, 2017
Carson L01, 5:00 PM

Ben Miller Dragos

Pandora's Power Grid - What Can State Attacks Do and What Would be the Impact?

Ben Miller
Chief Threat Officer, Dragos, Inc.
Tuesday May 2, 2017
Kemeny 007, 4:30 PM
Brendan Nyhan




Factual Echo Chambers? Fact-checking and Fake News in Election 2016.

Professor Brendan Nyhan
Dartmouth College
Thursday May 4, 2017
Rocky 001, 5:00 PM

Dickie George


Espionage and Intelligence

Professor Dickie George
Johns Hopkins University
Thursday May 11, 2017
Rocky 001, 5:00 PM

Dan Wallach

A Nation Under Attack: Advanced Cyber-Attacks in Ukraine

Ukrainian Cybersecurity Researchers
Thursday April 6, 2017
Oopik Auditorium 5:30 PM

ISTS Information Pamphlet



Institute for Security, Technology, and Society
Dartmouth College
6211 Sudikoff Laboratory
Hanover, NH 03755 USA
HomeEvents >

Security Pragmatics

Dr. Marc Donner, Director of Engineering, Google
Thursday, October 23, 2008


Marc Donner

During the 1970s and 1980s the New York City transit system was afflicted by an epidemic of rail car defacement.  Young vandals painted the insides and outsides of the cars. The city tried all sorts of tricks, including draconian restrictions on the sale of spray paint, severe punishment for the offenders they caught, and redesigning the interiors of the cars so that paint wouldn't stick. Nothing worked and it looked like the city was doomed to destruction. That is, until someone studied the behavior of the vandals and discovered that virtually all of the damage was being done in the rail yards where the trains were stored when not in service.  A little fencing, and a little patrolling and the problem was history.

Numerous commentators through history have noted that brute strength, as in a fortress with thick high walls, is never a reliable guarantor of security.  In this talk I will take you through some experiences from years of operational practice in industry, experiences of mine and of various others, that illustrate some of the pragmatic challenges in security.  I will attempt to demonstrate to you that dramatic improvements can be achieved with simple expedients and why many of the powerful techniques that we study are destined to be ineffective.


Dr. Marc Donner is currently an engineering director with Google in New York City where his team develops software for advertising. In his previous position as executive director at Morgan Stanley he led a number of projects that included early Web efforts, elimination of all printed reports from the clearance and settlement system, and event-based forecast modeling for individuals and enterprises. Prior to this position Dr. Donner was a Research Staff Member at IBM Research where his efforts focused on real-time systems, robotics, and large-scale distributed system management.

Dr. Donner received his PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University and his BS in Engineering from Caltech. He serves as associate Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Computer Society magazine, "Security and Privacy" and he is the organizer of the New York CTO Club.


Last Updated: 4/21/10