The theft of more than 100 million customer records from Target late last year has drawn much public and media attention. Consumers remain alarmed that such a large retailer could be hacked so thoroughly.
Cyber threats are a complex global phenomenon, and an international effort drawing on knowledge from a range of disciplines is needed to address it.
One attempt is the joint MIT-Harvard project, Explorations in Cyber International Relations (ECIR), headed by Prof. Nazli Choucri, of MIT’s Political Science department. This collaborative effort, supported by the U.S. Defense Department, is advancing a research agenda involving experts from the MIT Sloan School of Management, MIT’s Political Science and Computer Science Departments, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Harvard Law School.
Stuart Madnick is the John Norris Maguire professor of information technology at the Sloan School of Management and professor of engineering systems at MIT School of Engineering. For the past five years he has been a participant in Explorations in Cyber International Relations and served on the Executive Committee.
MIT Sloan Visiting Lecturer Irving Wladawsky-Berger
From Irving Wladawsky-Berger’s Blog
Ever since I joined Citigroup as a strategic advisor in March of 2008, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the ongoing transition toward a global digital money ecosystem. For over 2,500 years, money has played a central role in the rise of civilizations and in human affairs of all kinds. As a result, the historical transition to digital money is among the most exciting and important societal challenges in the coming decades. Its impact might well be up there with that of other major technology-based societal transformations, including electricity, radio and TV, and the Internet and World Wide Web.
The evolution to a digital money ecosystem involves a lot more than the transformation of money - cash, checks, credit and debit cards, etc, – from physical to digital objects that we will carry in our smart mobile devices. It encompasses the whole money ecosystem, including the global payment infrastructures, the management of personal identities and financial data, the global financial flows among institutions and between institutions and individuals, the government regulatory regimes, security and privacy issues, and so on.
I am 46 years old. The first 23 years of my life I spent in the Soviet Union; the remainder I spent in the United States. I was born and grew up in Ukraine — in Eastern Ukraine, to be exact. In the underbelly of the Ukrainian Rust Belt, called the Donbass, where people work in ginormous smoke belching factories, eat salted pork fat for breakfast and speak Russian.
That was supposed to be my fate too, pork fat and all, but the Soviet Empire collapsed, I got to study economics at an Ivy League doctorate program and am now a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Spending half of my life in Ukraine sort of qualifies me to offer an opinion about recent events there. Being at MIT, my opinion comes with more than a hint of technology included.
If you are reading this, you have probably already seen plenty of pictures of burning tires, exploding Molotov cocktails, bodies with blankets over them, armed men with covered faces, and, most recently, youthful opposition leaders shaking hands with the heads of great nations. What I see is an installation of a new “operating system,” or an OS as they are called in the tech world. An OS is an essential set of common rules that enable different parts of a computer, or in this case society, to interact with each other. Without these rules, a nation state cannot function — just like your computer cannot function without an OS.
This is the story of Nate, John, Chris and Tyler, who started a company while attending MIT and decided to stay in school while working on their startup at the same time.
I first met Nate Robert and John Reynolds in March 2013. Nate (then 22) and John (then 21) were seniors studying Mechanical Engineering at the time. In the previous semester, Nate and John took a mechanical design class (MIT 2.009), where they became intrigued by the problem of delivering beer to pubs without elevator access. Traditionally, beer distribution companies use dollies that cost around $300 each. Delivery personnel would stack two kegs on each dolly, then bend over and bounce 320lb of beer up and down flights of stairs. Not only does this destroy the dollies, but repetitive back strain for delivery men results in a high injury rate, costing these companies millions of dollars every year.
The solitary genius, closeted in a lab or garage, creating the next big thing is largely a myth. Important innovation almost always builds upon what came before it. The automobile would not exist if the horse-drawn carriage had not been invented first. We would not be using laser pointers now if early humans had not fashioned torches in experiments with fire.
The most important example of innovation through knowledge sharing today is the open source software movement. Developers are posting code in online communities across the globe, learning from one another and building on each other’s advances. Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery. It’s also the best form of innovation.