Senator Lieberman visits Prof. Tehranipoor’s lab
By Amy Schellenbaum
Senior Staff Writer (for the UConn Daily Campus, where the story below appeared on 24 February, 2012)
Senator Joe Lieberman heralded UConn’s contributions to cyber systems research during his visit Thursday to talk about his new homeland security bill and the importance of protecting critical American companies from cyber attacks.
“We don’t want to go through a cyber 9/11,” Lieberman said in the speech he made at the Information Technology Engineering building. “We have the opportunity now to act together to protect ourselves from that.”
Lieberman’s speech was interrupted by a handful of Occupy UConn students. After several minutes, the students stopped their speech, which they read aloud from a script.
The former vice presidential candidate spoke about the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which was introduced on Feb. 14. The bill aims to articulate requirements for companies that manage “critical” commodities and find areas where security is most vulnerable.
These companies are those that, if compromised, could cause “disruptions to life-sustaining services or catastrophic damage to the economy or national security,” according to a press release. This includes those who operate electric power systems, water systems and significant “financial networks,” Lieberman said.
Lieberman said groups overseas “are developing the capacity to attack us … by attacking privately-owned cyberspace.” He also said cyber attacks on certain companies could lead to mass death and economic collapse.
“This is a genuine concern,” Lieberman said. “And we know time is not on our side.”
On his tour of the cyber research labs in the ITE, Lieberman said he was impressed by the efforts of UConn’s Center for Information Assurance and Computer Systems Security. The center, a joint effort by the School of Engineering and School of Business, researches data mining for homeland security and data security and privacy, to name a few projects.
Lieberman said he appreciated the business school’s role in the research.
“This is a real factor in America’s economic competitiveness,” Lieberman said.
He spoke about how keeping business plans secure would ensure international groups would not be able to “steal the fruits of American investments.”
During his visit, Lieberman spoke to UConn faculty about CIACSS’s work in vulnerability detection in hardware as well as UConn’s voting technology research.
“You’re truly working at the new frontier,” he told the students working in the labs.
The CIACSS was founded by John Chandy after UConn was named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research for the academic years 2010-2015, thanks largely to the work done in the department of electrical and computer engineering, according to the university’s engineering website. The title is given by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
The group of about five students, including Daily Campus campus correspondent Colin Neary, interrupted Lieberman a few minutes into the event and called him “an enemy of the Bill of Rights” and “a war monger.”
Over the students’ speech, Lieberman asked that the students honor his own right to speak to those who gathered. He said he did not want to have them removed by force. The students stopped talking after several minutes of urging from Dean of Engineering Mun Choi and a few attendees.