Most people would agree that technology is fascinating and has changed our lives in countless ways. But how is it affecting us as humans and what are the issues surrounding the rapid advance in technology, especially when it comes to cybersecurity?

Those questions and more will be explored by the new Human-Centric Security Initiative at the University of New Mexico on Friday, Nov. 14 from 12 to 6:30 p.m. in the Centennial Engineering Center’s Stamm Commons. The initiative is a collaborative effort between the UNM’s Department of Computer Science, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Anderson School of Management and Sandia National Laboratories.

“Our main goal is to bring people together, from cybersecurity experts to business scholars and practitioners to researchers at the national lab in a way that immediately teaches people that we aren’t just developing obscure science,” said Michalis Faloutsos, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science and one of the executive directors of the initiative. “Technology has the power to touch people’s lives.”

The event will feature university and industry speakers, and provide industry partners and others an opportunity to meet members of the university community to learn how the new initiative can help solve challenges they may be facing. A panel discussion will explore national needs in this area and how the initiative can help meet those needs, and poster sessions will allow participants a chance to become familiar with the research being conducted at UNM.

Alex Seazzu, director of Center for Information Assurance Research and Education
Alex Seazzu, director, Center for Information Assurance Research and Education.

Alex Seazzu, director, Center for Information Assurance Research and Education (CIARE) in the Anderson School of Management, said the initiative will take a holistic approach that concentrates on how cybersecurity affects humans’ physical safety and their fundamental rights in an effort to protect data, privacy, and physical and emotional well-being.

Four key parts of initiative
1. Conduct cutting-edge, human-centric research that assesses threats to basic human rights. This will be done through the development of technologies that take into consideration security and privacy and puts humans first over devices.

2. Establish a problem-driven agenda. The initiative will partner with industry, government, and human rights defenders around the world to solve problems with creative solutions.  

3. Educate the next generation of ethical hackers. The initiative will strive to meet the need for information security engineers by engaging in outreach efforts to schools, educational activities, seminars, and specialized courses.

4. Become a catalyst for technology transfer and societal impact. The initiative will strive to inspire, support, and lead technology transfer in the area of security, including intellectual property licensing, staffing security companies, and fostering start-ups.

In addition to Faloutsos, executive directors of the Human-Centric Security Initiative are Seazzu and Bob Hutchinson, senior manager for information security sciences at Sandia.

Event Schedule
Noon-1 p.m. — Lunch and keynote address

1-1:30 p.m. — Welcome and statement of vision

1:30- 2 p.m. — UNM Department of Computer Science research and activities

2-2:30 p.m. — Anderson School of Management research and programs

2:30-3 p.m. — Break

3-3:30 p.m. — Sandia National Laboratories research and activities

3:30-4 p.m. — Panel: “What are the Nation’s Pain-Points in Cybersecurity and How Can the Human-Centric Security Initiative Help?”

4-4:30 p.m. — Talks by industry and partners

4:30-5 p.m. — Break

5-6:30 p.m. — Poster presentations from UNM students and Sandia