Hal Berghel: Short Bio and Abstracts (2018-19)

Hal Berghel is currently Professor of Computer Science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he has previously served as Director of both the Schools of Computer Science and Informatics, and as Associate Dean of the College of Engineering. He created and directed the first CyberSecurity degree programs (Bachelors, Masters and PhD) in Nevada in 2005. This program became an NSA Center for Academic Excellence two years later. He was the founding Director of the Identity Theft and Financial Fraud Research and Operations Center and CyberSecurity Research Center. His research interests are wide-ranging within the binary and digital ecosystem, ranging from logic programming and expert systems, relational database design, algorithms for non-resolution based inferencing, approximate string matching, digital watermarking and steganography, and digital security and privacy. Since the mid-1990's he has applied his work in digital security to law enforcement and intelligence gathering, particularly with respect to digital crime, digital money laundering, information warfare and trusted identities. His research has been supported by both industry and government for over thirty years. His most recent work in secure credentialling technology was funded by the Department of Justice. In addition to his academic positions, Berghel is also a popular columnist, author, frequent, talk show guest, inventor, and keynote speaker. For nearly fifteen years he wrote the popular Digital Village column for the Communications of the ACM, and has written the Out-of-Band column for IEEE Computer since 2011 and since January, 2015 has been the lead editor for the Computer. Aftershock feature. His columns have been recognized as the "Best Columns" of 2014, 2015 and 2016 by the IEEE CS, and have been recognized as Notable Articles by ACM Computer Reviews in 2013,2014 and 2016. He has chaired the editorial panel of the Aftershock column in Computer since its inception in January, 2016..

Berghel is a Fellow of both the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Association for Computing Machinery, and serves both societies as a Distinguished Visitor and Distinguished Lecturer, respectively. He has received the IEEE Computer Society Distinguished Service Award, the IEEE CS Golden Core Award, the ACM Distinguished Service Award, the ACM Outstanding Contribution Award, the ACM Outstanding Lecturer of the Year Award (four times) and was recognized for Lifetime Achievement in 2004. He is also the founder and owner of Berghel.Net, a consultancy serving government, business and industry. Berghel is a past member of the Nevada Technology Crimes Advisory Board and the past chair of the Nevada Privacy Subcommittee.


The Digital Fabric of Fake News

This talk presents a unifying explanation of the use of digital technology in promulgating fake news, "alt-facts", lies and other sundry forms of disinformation. It will be shown that while cyberspace didn't create this problem (it has been with us forever) it exacerbated and weaponized it. This was made most clear in the US presidential election of 2016. It will also be argued that fact checking, while a necessary public good, is no match for weaponized cyber-propaganda as it's pointless to direct the results at those who can't change their mind and won't change the subject. Instead, it will be argued that our primary focus should be on developing a set of online tools that facilitate the fact-checking process while at the same time taking full advantage of the capability of the deep web. This talk will also cover the interplay of Alt-News, Post-Truth, Fake News, lies and an occasional truth in modern political discourse.

The Digital Assault on Privacy

George Orwell and Aldous Huxley are frequently mentioned in the context of the recent spate of surveillance leaks from the NSA. While both Orwell and Huxley feared big government and big controls, they feared it for different reasons. This difference will set the tone for this talk.

We will begin with the history of the U.S. involvement in surveillance, from the early analog days to the latest digital technologies. We'll explain the motivations, technologies and civil libertarian consequences of some noteworthy surveillance programs like Echelon, Carnivore, Narusinsight, Magic Lantern, ThinThread, Trailblazer, Stellar Wind/Ragtime, and TAO (Tailored Access Operations) to name but a few. The speaker will also cover corporate surveillance by high tech companies and cyber intelligence mercenaries. The speaker will conclude with speculation on future directions for government and private surveillance programs the privacy implications that will arise therefrom. (50 slides; 45-50 minutes plus Q&A: categories: digital security and privacy, privacy legislation, privacy safeguards, personally identifiable information,)

The Modern Surveillance State

This talk will provide a partial answer to the question "How did we get to the modern surveillance state?" We'll show that this was the confluence of a variety of ideological, political, technological, and corporate interests, dating back to the turn of the last century. Critical events included the rapid evolution of the military-industrial complex, the race toward privatization of government intelligence services that gave rise to the corporate "pure plays" that feed almost entirely from the federal trough, an iron triangle that ensures that the alliances between for-profit corporations and the government agencies they serve remain tightly coupled, and a reactive, over-zealous Executive Branch that's too willing to eschew civil liberties to achieve a false sense of security. This talk will argue that the modern surveillance state actually makes us less secure than we could be with constitutionally-compatible, more cost-effective programs digital programs that are technologically within our grasp. Note: expansion of speaker's two columns in the February, 2014 LINK and June, 2014 LINK issues of IEEE Computer. (50 slides; 45-50 minutes plus Q&A: categories: digital security and privacy, digital surveillance, intelligence services)

Technology and Survivable Journalism

To paraphrase media theorist Neil Postman, George Orwell feared the end of a free press while Aldous Huxley feared that there would be no one who would want to read. This characterizes one dimension of the Orwell/Huxley dystopia predicted by 1984 and Brave New World. In this talk, I'll attempt to place one dimension of this dystopia in a technological framework.

The received view of modern journalism goes something like this: recent technology advances are rendering traditional print media-based journalism impotent and as a consequence future jobs in journalism will require increased technical and IT skills. On this account, computing technology will come to the rescue of journalism as it becomes net-centric. Far from helping journalism out of the hole, I'll show that unless we change the course that we're heading, technology may actually make the hole deeper.

Journalism since Watergate has become more dramaturgic, orchestrated, undifferentiated, and uninspired. Independent newspaper publishers and media outlets are harder to find these days. And as time has shown, investigative journalism is not the ideal manservant to global corporate interests. Investigative journalism is losing out to agenda-based and stakeholder-friendly reporting. That worries me - but not nearly as much as the threat to the journalists, themselves. To illustrate, consider that the only individual to go to jail over the recent outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame was a NY Times reporter who covered the story - for failing to disclose her sources!

In this talk I'll outline ways in which computing technology may be used by and for journalists to protect themselves from persecution and prosecution in journalistically hostile environments. note: related to the speaker's column of the same name in the May, 2013 issue of IEEE Computer LINK

The Future of Digital Money Laundering

This talk investigates several types of digital money laundering, characterized by source (failed states, state-aware, kleptocratic states, terrorists, extremists, and individuals), means (credit- and debit-card exploits, international funds transfers, klepto-banks, "gift-card" exploits), and purpose (terrorism, narco-trafficking, electronic crime, internet fraud). These categories are introduced by their identifying events-of-interest. Implications on shadow economies, degrees of sophistication, and case studies are discussed.  Each crime will be explicitly linked geographically and politically to sources, and may include discussion of actual cases. Several micro- and macro-level mitigation strategies will be discussed. (100 slides; 45-50 minutes plus Q&A. categories: money laundering, digital crime, digital fraud, narco-trafficking, terrorism, internet fraud. Note: based on speaker's column of the same name in the August, 2014 IEEE Computer LINK. No part of this presentation may be recorded!)

Crime.Com: post-modern criminal behavior

This talk begins with an overview of the role of crime in general, and digital crime in particular, in the shadow economies of the world. It illustrates this via a sequence of specific criminal activities that have been studied by the author.This talk will explain the latest digital crime scene in terms of sources, modus operandi, and the digital techniques involved. Examples will be drawn from actual case files and published media reports, and the techniques will be explained and in some cases actually demonstrated. Exploits include: bank card skimming, ATM hacking, digital gas pump hijacking, phishing scams, bank card brokering and internet dumpsites, hotel room invasions, physical counterfeiting, digital counterfeiting and some brute-force techniques as well. If your organization is interested in the latest digital exploits of the denizens of digital darkness, this talk is for you. Note: Based on speaker's columns, e.g., January, 2012 IEEE Computer LINK, December, 2007 Communications of the ACM LINK, and December, 2006 Communications of the ACM LINK (100 slides; 45-50 minutes plus Q&A. categories: digital crime, electronic crime, shadow economies, computer crime, hacking, bank fraud, Internet fraud. No part of this presentation may be recorded!)

Speaker will bring media to the venue on a USB memory stick and will require digital projection connected to a current Windows computer with Microsoft Office).