Cyber Safety and Resiliency at the Internet Infrastructure Layer


Many US core internet infrastructure assets – DNS, Content Distribution Networks, fiber optic networks, mobile networks, telecommunications satellites, energy networks — are high-value targets for cyber attacks from myriad antagonists. The level of vulnerability is unclear, and the recoverability of assets even less transparent. This panel will explore the current threat environment, specific efforts to address attacks and create resilience, and define the efforts (e.g., standards, industry collaboration, norms for reporting) to harden and smarten this infrastructure.


Melinda Clem

Co-Chair, IGF-USA

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Melinda Clem is Vice President Strategy for Afilias, the worlds second largest domain name registry. Melinda has worked in corporate development, strategy and marketing positions in the domain industry since 2000, with Afilias since 2007. Prior to the domain industry, Melinda worked in the telecommunications and satellite industries; she has also taught communications strategy for Johns Hopkins University. Melinda is on the Board of Directors of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2C), represents Afilias on the Secretariat of the IGF Dynamic Coalition on DNS Issues (DC-DNSI), in addition to being co-Chair of IGF-USA. Melinda holds a degree in Philosophy from American University and an MBA from George Washington University.


Chris Betz

Chief Security Officer, CenturyLink

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Chris Betz is the Chief Security Officer for CenturyLink. He is responsible for leading the company’s corporate information security and security product development teams, including information security and IT risk and compliance functions, physical security and security product architecture. Prior to joining CenturyLink, Chris led security for Apple products and has held leadership roles in information security, security operations and response and security intelligence at Microsoft, CBS Corporation and the National Security Agency (NSA). He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy.

Allan Friedman

Director of Cybersecurity Initiatives, National Telecommunications and Information Administration

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Dr. Allan Friedman is Director of Cybersecurity Initiatives at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in the US Department of Commerce. He coordinates NTIA’s multi-stakeholder processes on cybersecurity, convening cross-sector working groups with a focus on resilience in a vulnerable ecosystem. Friedman leads NTIA's effort to establish a shared vision and best practices on software bill of materials (SBOM) across the digital ecosystem.

Prior to joining the Federal government, Friedman spent over a decade as a noted cybersecurity and technology policy scholar at Harvard’s Computer Science Department, the Brookings Institution and George Washington University’s Engineering School. He is the co-author of the popular text “Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know,” has a degree in computer science from Swarthmore College and a PhD in public policy from Harvard University.

Danny McPherson

Executive Vice President and Chief Security Officer, Verisign

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As executive vice president and chief security officer (CSO), Danny McPherson is responsible for all aspects of Verisign’s information systems and services, as well as information and corporate security. Additionally, he represents Verisign in key forums focused on critical infrastructure, engineering, research, security, and online trust. With over 20 years of experience in the internet network operations, security, and telecommunications industries, McPherson brings tremendous technical leadership and operational expertise to the company. Prior to joining Verisign, McPherson was vice president and CSO at Arbor Networks, where he developed solutions to detect and mitigate cyberattacks. Before that, he held technical leadership positions in architecture, engineering and operations with Amber Networks, Qwest Communications, Genuity, MCI Communications, and the U.S. Army Signal Corps. McPherson has actively participated in internet operations and standardization since the early 1990s. He is currently a member of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) and has served on the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the Internet Research Steering Group (IRSG), the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC), and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity Subcommittee, as well as the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) Board of Directors. He has chaired an array of Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and other working groups and committees in these and related forums. McPherson is an active contributor in the network and security operations and research communities and has authored several books, numerous internet protocol standards, network and security research papers, and other publications.

Ram Mohan

Chief Operating Officer, Afilias

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Ram Mohan has over 20 years’ experience in technology, leadership and entrepreneurship within both publicly quoted and private companies. Previously he worked at companies including Infonautics Corp., First Data Corporation, Unisys Corporation and KPMG. Ram was a founder of the technology behind TurnTide, an anti-spam company acquired by Symantec (a provider of internet security) in July 2004. He served on the ICANN board of directors from November 2008 to October 2018. After joining Afilias in July 2001 as Chief Technology Officer, Ram has overseen the key strategic, management and technology choices for the Group. He has also advised several governments on internet security and internet globalisation issues as part of Afilias’ ccTLD portfolio.

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