Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC) 2018

Full Program »

Panel: Blockchain Security and Applications: Promises and Pitfalls

Wednesday, 5 December 2018
10:30 - 12:00

Miramar II

Panel Moderator:
Robert H’obbes’ Zakon, Founding Partner, Zakon Group LLC

Dave Bryson, Blockchain Technology Lead, The MITRE Corporation
Anil John, Program Manager, Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate  SLIDES
Javier Malavé, Blockchain Initiative Director, Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust

Panel Theme

Since its original conceptualization as the underpinning for Bitcoin, blockchains have garnered much attention and been the subject of considerable speculation on their potential application in areas other than cryptocurrencies. In this panel, we will go beyond the hype and discuss both the security of blockchains and their application to enhance the security of processes, systems, networks, and data. Panelists will explore the maturity of blockchain security and its readiness to ensure reliability and trustworthiness in mission-critical applications. Current and potential applications of blockchain technology will also be reviewed, such as in supply chain and IoT.

Panelists Issues and Bios

Dave Bryson
Bringing trust to a trust-less network is one of the most appealing features for using a blockchain. Many of today’s applications have a need to share or move information across organizational boundaries among parties that may or may not trust one another. Blockchain technology has the potential to bring trust to such an environment without relying on a third-party to mediate transactions. However, not all blockchains are created equal - different approaches provide different levels of security. Careful consideration should be made to ensure a given blockchain can provide the desired level of security for an individual or organization.

Bio: Dave Bryson has over 25 years’ experience building software across several domains. For the past several years he’s focused exclusively on blockchain technology and its use within the enterprise. Dave is the Blockchain Technology Lead at MITRE’s Software Engineering Technical Center.

Anil John  SLIDES
Blockchains offer much promise, as can be seen in the rapid growth of interest across government and the private sector. From a government perspective, the technology holds the potential for enhanced transparency and auditing of public service operations, greater supply chain visibility to combat the distribution of counterfeit products, and automation of paper-based processes to improve delivery of services to organizations and citizens. Examples span the gamut from ensuring the authenticity and integrity of videos and photos from cameras, sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) devices; enhancing and facilitating international trade and customs processes; facilitating and securing international passenger processing; to mitigating forgery and counterfeiting of official licenses and certificates. Conversely, the challenge with blockchain technology is the potential for the development of “walled gardens” or closed technology platforms that do not support common standards for security, privacy, and data exchange. This would limit the growth and availability of a competitive marketplace of diverse, interoperable solutions for government and industry to draw upon to deliver cost effective and innovative services based on blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.

Bio: Anil John is the program manager for the identity management project in the Cyber Security Division of the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) in DHS S&T. The Identity Management project help government program managers with the public and private sector research and development expertise and resources needed to enhance the security and trustworthiness of their programs. In cases where such technologies do not exist or under development, the project makes the necessary investments in applied research, advanced development and technology transition to ensure their availability to the Homeland Security Enterprise. Full bio:

Javier J Malavé Bonet
Security in blockchain speaks to several areas: hardware security, sound cryptoeconomics, smart contract design, secure API’s & governance models. However, the recent history of hacks and bugs, from The DAO to Parity’s multi-sig wallet shows, as has been evident in this year’s blockchain conferences thus far, that the highest priority now is to provide serious attention to the use of formal verification in smart contract code. Coding standards may also help in disseminating best practices and educating developers. Finally, governance models shouldn’t be overlooked as a security matter. Especially when it comes to DAO platforms where machines (IoT) interact with humans to control a given system.

Bio: Javier has spent the over a decade working in a diverse set of environments within the embedded systems and semiconductor industry including with Hamilton Sundstrand, Freescale and Texas Instruments (TI). While at TI he engaged with NSN, Google X, Ericsson, Huawei, among other industry giants focusing on networking and embedded security. In 2017, after many years of following and studying blockchain technology he moved to Puerto Rico. Since Hurricane Maria hit his cherished island of Puerto Rico, he has been primarily focused on exploring mesh networks, DAO’s and blockchain as a way to increase community resiliency in Puerto Rico. Javier is currently the Blockchain Initiative Director at the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust. He holds a B.S. & M.S. in Computer Engineering from UPRM & Texas A&M respectively and a Masters in Technology Entrepreneurship (MTE) from the University of Maryland.

Robert H’obbes’ Zakon
Bio: Robert Zakon is a technology entrepreneur and consultant who innovates and applies emerging technologies across the intelligence, defense, healthcare, and scientific sectors. He is a former White House Presidential Innovation Fellow and served as an innovator-in-residence at the U.S. Department of the Treasury leading and facilitating fintech- and blockchain-related initiatives. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Zakon was a Principal Engineer with the MITRE Corporation’s Information Systems Security Group. He holds degrees in Computer Engineering and Science with concentrations in Philosophy and Psychology from Case Western Reserve University. Zakon is the author of Hobbes’ Internet Timeline, the authoritative Internet history now in its 25th year, and the new Hobbes’ Blockchain Timeline.


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