Browsing: Information Technology

I recently had the chance to talk with the legendary Vint Cerf, one of the founding fathers of the internet. We had a wide-ranging discussion about the past, present and future of the internet, network security and what it would take to successfully, safely and reliably merge the digital and physical worlds, a concept known as the “Internet of Things,” or IoT. As its name suggests, the internet of things will connect all kinds of things, bringing us a wealth of data about, well, everything that we can use to improve our lives. For example, internet-connected smart parking meters are helping people find available parking spaces, saving time, fuel and probably more than a few relationships. People are using fitness…

When I went to graduate school to pursue my master’s degree 35 years ago, I couldn’t have predicted where my study of mathematics would end up taking me. I simply thought I was going to become a math professor. Before digital communications, the internet, and personal computers became part of our daily lives, cryptography—the area I have devoted my career to—was really only used by the military, diplomats, and spies. So far as the general public was concerned, it wasn’t anything other than a theoretical research area. For me, it was the mathematics—the abstract algebra, Boolean functions, and number theory—that made cryptography interesting. Beautiful Mathematics For a long time, the only way you could encrypt radio signals was by using…

A catchphrase from a popular reality show goes: “One day you’re in. And the next day, you’re out.” For the purposes of the show, the host is referencing fashion. But the same could be said about science. With each new discovery or advance, an old theory or idea often becomes obsolete … or at least less important. We here in the NIST public affairs office thought it might be fun to list some of the NIST-relevant scientific ideas that we think are on their way in and out in 2017. While the items on the list below may not be as monumental as the discoveries that led to this year’s Nobel Prizes, MacArthur Foundation “genius” grants or Breakthrough Prizes, we…

They say opposites attract. While my husband and I have many important things in common, we are complete opposites in one area. He’s a “risk taker,” and me … well, not so much. Rather than being labeled as “risk averse,” I prefer the term “caution giver.” I’m a federal employee. I come from a long line of public servants. I bet that my ancestors probably worked in the service of the king or queen, or at least the local earl or baron, before they came to the U.S. My husband is different story. He’s a small-business owner. Whereas I tend to worry and ask a lot of “what if?” questions, he likes the challenge of being in command and building…

After four years of research and development, NIST has published a groundbreaking new security guideline that addresses the longstanding problem of how to engineer trustworthy, secure systems—systems that can provide continuity of capabilities, functions, services, and operations during a wide range of disruptions, threats, and other hazards. In fact, I think that Special Publication 800-160, Systems Security Engineering, is the most important publication that I have been associated with in my two decades of service with NIST. I want to share what led me to this conclusion. The Current Landscape The United States, and every other industrialized nation, is experiencing explosive growth in information technology. These technological innovations have given us access to computing and communications capabilities unparalleled in the…

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