CCS 2006

Keynote Talk

System and Network Trustworthiness in Perspective

Tuesday, 31 October 2006
9:30 - 10:30 AM

Speaker: Peter G. Neumann,
Principal Scientist, Principled Systems Group, Computer Science Laboratory
SRI International, Menlo Park CA 94025-3493 1-650-859-2375
Neumann [at]


This talk considers the challenges of achieving greater trustworthiness in computer systems and networks and in the overall environments in which they must operate. Here are a few of the expected subthemes:
  • "The future isn't what it used to be."
    It is becoming ever more difficult to keep up with critical needs for trustworthy applications in the face of increasing vulnerabilities, threats, ubiquitous societal dependence on information technology, and the resulting risks.
  • "We need to go back to the future."
    We will look at some relevant past research efforts, examine the present state of the art, and extrapolate on what might be needed in the future. We take a long-term view on some of the hard problems that remain to be adequately addressed.
  • "Progress is always slower than you'd think." Proactive system development is often shunned, but has enormous potential payoffs. We often repeat many of the mistakes of the past, many of which can be surmounted -- for example, using approaches such as evolvable system architectures, pervasive and predictable subsystem composability, sound uses of cryptography, intelligent interface design, judicious use of formal methods, and up-front attention to assured trustworthiness.

Speaker Biography:

Peter G. Neumann (Neumann [at] has doctorates from Harvard and Darmstadt. After 10 years at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey, in the 1960s, during which he was heavily involved in the Multics development jointly with MIT and Honeywell, he has been in SRI's Computer Science Lab since September 1971. He work concerns computer systems and networks, trustworthiness/dependability, high assurance, security, reliability, survivability, safety, and many risks-related issues such as voting-system integrity, crypto policy, social implications, and human needs including privacy. He moderates the ACM Risks Forum, edits CACM's monthly Inside Risks column, chairs the ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy and the National Committee for Voting Integrity ( He created ACM SIGSOFT's Software Engineering Notes in 1976, was its editor for 19 years, and still edits a bimonthly RISKS section. He co-founded People For Internet Responsibility (PFIR, His 1995 book, Computer-Related Risks, is still timely! He is a Fellow of the ACM, IEEE, and AAAS, and is also an SRI Fellow. He received the National Computer System Security Award in 2002 and the ACM SIGSAC Outstanding Contributions Award in 2005. He is a member of the U.S. Government Accountability Office Executive Council on Information Management and Technology, and the California Office of Privacy Protection advisory council. He has taught at Darmstadt, Stanford, U.C. Berkeley, and the University of Maryland. See his website ( for further background, U.S. Senate and House and California state testimonies, papers, bibliography, etc.