A Member Of The First EMCS Cohort Wins Brown's Master's Award For Professional Excellence

Click the link that follows for more news items about the Executive Master in Cybersecurity (EMCS) program.

Every year, Brown University's Graduate School presents the Master's Award for Professional Excellence to recognize outstanding student contributions that influence or contribute to the field or profession. This year, Brown's School of Professional Studies is proud to note that the new winner, David Aaron, is a member of the Executive Master in Cybersecurity program's first cohort. EMCS is an 18-month program for professionals designed to cultivate high-demand, industry executives with the unique and critical ability to devise and execute integrated, comprehensive cybersecurity strategies for nations and industries across the globe.

Like many of his classmates, David is a seasoned professional who sought out EMCS as a way to expand his already considerable expertise. As a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice National Security Division, he primarily handles cases involving violations of the Espionage Act and Economic Espionage Act, as well as malicious cyber activity related to national security. David has particular expertise in the acquisition and use of electronic and online evidence and other legal authorities regarding government action in cyberspace.

David used his EMCS Critical Challenge Project (CCP) to examine how current legal authorities can be used to promote cybersecurity in the private sector, with a focus on threats that affect parties other than the owners or operators of infected or vulnerable machines. In his CCP, David describes threats such as peer-to-peer botnets, botnets of Internet of Things (IOT) devices, critically vulnerable consumer devices, and unpatched machines in critical infrastructure environments.

His CCP argues that where the failure to patch or remediate systems is due to misaligned incentives or externalized costs and leaves in place vulnerabilities or malware that can have a broad impact on society, there is cause for government intervention. David proposes enhancing case-by-case preventive litigation building on the botnet disruption model, and he also identifies potential new applications of existing law and discusses what additional legal authority could provide in terms of scope, effectiveness, accountability, and transparency.

As he looks forward to graduation and receiving his award, David expresses his sincere gratitude to the Executive Master in Cybersecurity program and to Professor Timothy Edgar in particular: “I was truly fortunate to have Tim as a mentor and advisor throughout the EMCS program, and I look forward to continuing to work together. He is an excellent example of the access that EMCS offers to experts in the field, and his approach to teaching engaged the entire cohort, regardless of their professional background or prior familiarity with his course material.”

David also has words of praise for the other members of his cohort, saying, "Especially in light of the impressive professional accomplishments of many of my classmates, receiving this award is humbling and truly an honor." Finally, David thanks his family:  "My wife, children, parents, and in-laws have been crucial to whatever professional or academic success I have had, and I remain forever grateful for their ceaseless support."

Alan Usas, EMCS Program Director and Brown CS Adjunct Professor, calls attention to David's successes as a lead prosecutor in recent national news stories. He also notes that David was awarded a prestigious Fellowship in Advanced Cybersecurity Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies for his outstanding contributions in policy, technology, diplomacy, and business.

Plastech Professor of Computer Science Roberto Tamassia, who serves as an EMS instructor and also its Executive Director, called attention to David's in-depth understanding of complex algorithmic methods and cryptographic protocols. "His work exhibited a level of scientific rigor I would expect from one of our computer science PhD students," Roberto says. "It's the most effective executive brief I have seen on this subject."

The award and an honorarium will be presented at the Graduate School Master's Commencement ceremony in May. Other news items on this subject can be found at the EMCS web site and the Graduate School web site.

David participated in the EMCS program in his personal capacity, and neither his statements nor his Critical Challenge Project reflect the opinion of the Department of Justice or any component of the U.S. Government.

For more information, click the link that follows to contact Brown CS Communication Outreach Specialist Jesse C. Polhemus.