LERSAIS Seminar – October 26


Fred CohenThe Laboratory of Education and Research on Security Assured Information Systems will welcome Fred Cohen, CEO of Fred Cohen & Associates, a firm specializing in information protection.  Dr. Cohen, who was awarded his Masters’ Degree in Information Sciences in 1981 by SIS, is also a Research Professor at the University of New Haven and an adjunct at the University of San Francisco.  Dr. Cohen will discuss “Making Better Information Security Decisions by Identifying and Reducing Cognitive Errors and Providing Expert Guidance.”  This seminar will take place on Friday, October 26 from 2:30 pm to 3:30 in Room 404 at SIS.  There will be an opportunity to meet the speaker at a coffee at 2:00 pm, also in Room 404.

Dr. Cohen will provide an overview of decision support systems, cognitive error mechanisms, and related work that has led to increased understanding of how human cognitive errors lead to poor security-related decisions.  He will discuss how those errors might be reduced, resulting in better security decisions. Through the use of a magic trick, he will demonstrate how cognitive error mechanisms lead people to make poor assumptions, draw wrong conclusions, and ultimately make poor decisions. The basics of cognitive error mechanisms will be explored, along with an overview of classes of decision support systems, and the identification of specific classes of decision support systems used in information security. He will talk about simple security decisions with examples from each class and a few experimental demonstrations using the attendees as test subjects which show the results of these experiments next to the results of previous, better-controlled studies. Finally, some higher-end decision support systems used in high valued information security consulting and security engineering will be examined. 

Dr. Cohen is best known as the seminal researcher in the field of computer viruses and virus defense techniques, as well as the use of deception and cognitive methods for information protection.  He is an information protection consultant, industry analyst, and the principal investigator whose team defined the information assurance problem as it relates to critical infrastructure protection.

He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with an MS in Information Science in 1981 before earning his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in 1986. He has published more than 200 professional articles, books, and book chapters and is a frequent invited speaker at conferences. He teaches graduate courses in digital forensics, information protection, and related fields as a research professor at the University of New Haven and as an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco.  He is also the CEO of Fred Cohen & Associates.