RSAC 2018 Unveils Recipients of Annual Awards

Posted on by Linda Gray Martin

We are pleased to announce the recipients of RSA Conference’s annual awards. The awards winners were officially recognized on Tuesday in San Francisco on site at RSA Conference. The awards include: Excellence in the Fields of Information Security, Mathematics, Public Policy and new for 2018, the Award for Excellence in Humanitarian Service. 

This year’s RSA Conference Awards winners have shown what it takes to be true leaders and role models in humanitarian service, mathematics, public policy and cyber security. These recipients follow a long line of award winners that includes leaders from both the public and private sectors. We look forward to seeing how their collective efforts will shape the future of our industry. 

The recipients of this year’s RSA Conference Awards are: 

Award for Excellence in the Field of Humanitarian Service

Tim Jenkin, The African National Congress

The very first award recipient, Tim Jenkin, is a former political prisoner, prison escapee and communications officer for the African National Congress. His accomplishments in the realm of social justice are unparalleled. Jenkin and his team are revered for the creation of an ingenious communication system that enabled Vula operatives to penetrate South Africa's borders in secret, ultimately smuggling messages to the then imprisoned Nelson Mandela. Due to circumstances at the time, in the mid-1980s, Jenkin and team could not use commercial or open source cryptographic software. As it was too complex to build their own public-key system, they opted for a computerized version of the one-time pad system. This system, along with a way to send messages electronically, was essential in ending South African Apartheid. Jenkin embodies the height of humanitarianism, as he put his life in danger to create a better world for those who were oppressed.

Award for Excellence in the Field of Information Security

Michael Assante, security expert and instructor, SANS Institute

Over the past 15 years, Michael Assante, a security expert and curriculum lead at the SANS Institute, has provided valuable guidance to government, intelligence, military and industrial organizations to help protect large-scale power and other business systems from malicious intrusions perpetrated by criminals, terrorists and nation states. He served as CSO of both American Electric Power and The North American Electric Reliability Corporation as well as a strategist at Idaho National Labs, where he led the team that discovered the mechanism by which remote attacks could physically damage equipment used in industrial processes. A member of the U.S. Commission on Cyber Security under Barack Obama, Assante also spearheaded the power systems technical team that assisted the Ukraine in dealing with the aftermath of remote attacks on the country’s power grid. Assante was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award by RSA Conference in 2005 in the practice of security within an organization. 

Award for Excellence in the Field of Mathematics

Professor Ran Canetti, Boston University and Professor Rafail Ostrovsky, UCLA

This year’s award honors both, Ran Canetti, professor of Computer Science at Boston University and Tel-Aviv University and Rafail Ostrovsky, professor of Computer Science and Mathematics at UCLA for their groundbreaking, influential work on Novel Models and Protocol Notions for Secure Computation Tasks. Their combined experience developing novel problems, models and fundamental notions, opened the door for multiple new directions in cryptography. Jointly, they made essential contributions to proactive security, efficient zero-knowledge protocols, novel signature schemes and encryption schemes with additional properties, including deniable encryption. Professor Canetti made crucial contributions to Universal Composability, limitations of Random Oracle Model and HMAC function. Professor Ostrovsky enhanced encryption in new directions for big data, including Oblivious RAM and its applications, Encryptions with keyword search on cypher texts, Private Information Retrieval for single server and efficient searching and processing of encrypted data in the cloud with strong privacy guarantees.

Award for Excellence in the Field of Public Policy

Admiral Michael Rogers, United States Navy

Since 2014, Admiral Michael Rogers, of the United States Navy, has served as the Director of the NSA and Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, where he plays a seminal role in building up the military’s cyber-warfighting unit. During Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, Admiral Rogers managed the intelligence portfolio for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, specializing in computer network attacks. In 2009, he became director of intelligence for that same body of uniformed members of the U.S. Department of Defense and soon became commander of the United States Fleet Cyber Command, overseeing the Navy’s cyberwarfare efforts. Known for his bold, outspoken leadership and his highly decorated 30-year tenure in the Navy, Admiral Rogers is well respected for his vital achievements in protecting the United States from cyber-attacks, both domestic and foreign. 

Congratulations to these five remarkable people, whose contributions to humankind and to the field of cybersecurity embody the spirit of RSA Conference!

Linda Gray Martin

Senior Vice President, RSA Conference

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