WHAT:  Over the past year, an unnerving series of cyberattacks continue to penetrate American banking and financial industries, utilities, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, and public transportation systems.

American University experts are available to comment on the risks that cyberattacks pose to our national security, the economic implications to consumers and businesses, and the strategies that need to be implemented to neutralize the next wave of attacks.

In addition, on Friday, October 22, 2021, at 12:00 p.m. EDT, American University’s Kogod School of Business is hosting a webinar that will discuss the impact of ransomware on businesses and what to do if you or your company is impacted by this crime. Moderated by Kogod Dean John Delaney, the event will feature Kogod Professor and Director of the Kogod Cyber Governance Center Heng Xu and FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge and cybersecurity investigator Brett Leatherman. Register for the event here.

WHEN: October 18, 2021 – ongoing

WHERE: Via Skype, Zoom, email, or telephone

WHO: American University experts available for comments:

Fiona Alexander is co-founder of Salt Point Strategies and Distinguished Policy Strategist in Residence at American University's School of International Service.  A former government executive with extensive experience in Internet, cyber and emerging technology policy, she served at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in the US Department of Commerce for close to 20 years. Prof. Alexander is NTIA’s sole Presidential Rank Award winner for her leadership in the two-decade effort to privatize the Internet’s domain name system (DNS).  Prof. Alexander can comment on issues related to Internet infrastructure, international cooperation, international treaty discussions and the UN, including the International Telecommunication Union. 

Diana L. Burley is Vice Provost for Research, Professor of Public Administration and Policy, and Professor of Information Technology & Analytics at American University. She is an award-winning cybersecurity expert who has testified before Congress and who regularly advises corporate executives around the world on managing cybersecurity risk. Prof. Burley is a co-author of “Enterprise Software Security: A Confluence of Disciplines.”  Prof. Burley is available to comment on workforce development, including inclusiveness in cybersecurity and high-tech, among other issues.

Gwanhoo Lee, is a professor and the Chair of the Department of Information Technology and Analytics in the Kogod School of Business. He is also a researcher at the Kogod Cybersecurity Governance Center (KCGC).  His expertise and primary research areas include digital innovation, digital transformation, digital health care, information privacy, cybersecurity, smart government, software development agility and complexity, and project management. He has consulted for the World Bank and Samsung on digital strategy.

Eric Novotny is senior professorial lecturer and Director of the Master’s programs in Global Governance, Politics & Security in the School of International Service. Prior to joining AU, Prof. Novotny served as Senior Advisor on the Digital Media and Cyber Security at the U.S. Department of State. A former U.S. Air Force officer, he was also Senior Advisor, Democracy and Technology, at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and held senior executive positions at Lockheed Martin and at Hughes Electronics. Prof. Novotny can comment on issues related to cyber security resources and cyber threat actors, specifically, Iran and Russia.

Sasha O’Connell is a former senior executive at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and currently the Director of the Terrorism and Homeland Security Policy Program and the Justice Law and Criminology Master’s program at the School of Public Affairs. She has expertise in workforce diversity in law enforcement and national security environments, and in U.S. cyber policy, including the fields of encryption and “lawful access.” Prof. O’Connell is a Board Member of #NatSecGirlSquad an organization focused on building competent diversity in the national security space. She can comment on U.S. government cyber policy issues, including the important function of the National Cyber Director, as well as diversity in the cyber workforce.

Ayman Omar is an associate professor in AU’s Kogod School of Business’ department of information technology & analytics and a research fellow at the Kogod Cybersecurity Governance Center (KCGC). His research interests focus on global supply chain management, specifically targeting areas such as supply chain integration and responsiveness, cyber risks in global supply chains, and sustainability in global supply chains. Prior to receiving his Ph.D., he worked in the oil industry and conducted several consulting projects for a wide range of corporations including many Fortune 100 companies as well as small privately owned firms.

Jorhena Thomas, adjunct professorial lecturer in the School of International Service and School of Public Affairs, is an expert in international affairs and intelligence. She has extensive experience in intelligence analysis, intelligence-led investigations, and homeland security. At American University, Prof. Thomas runs a practicum course on disinformation that focuses on helping U.S. Government entities address the evolving use of information warfare by nation states. Prof. Thomas can talk about the way in which Internet users can protect themselves from disinformation and misinformation.

Heng Xu is the director of the Kogod Cybersecurity Governance Center and a professor in Kogod’s department of information technology & analytics. She is an expert in AI governance, privacy protection, data ethics, algorithmic fairness, analytical transparency, and accountability. Her research has received many awards and secured highly coveted grants. Dr. Xu also teaches classes in cybersecurity risk management and governance.

Nan Zhang is a professor of information technology and analytics in AU’s Kogod School of Business and a research fellow at the Kogod Cybersecurity Governance Center (KCGC). His expertise is in data privacy, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and regulatory issues. His current research focuses on the proper use of data analytics and machine learning to understand people’s preferences and behavior, especially pertaining to important business and regulatory decisions.