SANS ICS Lifetime Achievement Award

SANS ICS Lifetime Achievement Award

2018 Recipient - Michael J. Assante

We are proud to announce Michael J. Assante as this year's recipient of the SANS ICS Lifetime Achievement Award. Michael Assante is the SANS lead for Industrial Control System (ICS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) security and also serves as the Director of Industrials and Infrastructure at SANS Institute. As a Senior Associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Strategic Technologies Program, Assante authors papers and provides views on policy issues.

Assante is a pioneer in ICS Cyber Security and worked with SANS Institute to establish the SANS ICS and SCADA Security Summit which is now in its 13th year. Together with Alan Paller, he helped focus attention on an area of cybersecurity that has the potential to affect critical infrastructure and human life and safety but was largely being unaddressed. Assante served as Vice President and CSO at American Electric Power, engaged in research to include the Idaho National Laboratory vulnerability of electric generators to destruction through remote cyber attack, and served as the first CSO at NERC. Government, intelligence, and military organizations have also relied on his leadership and counsel for more than 20 years. He has testified before the US Senate and House and was an initial member of the member of the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency.

Friends congratulating Mike at the ICS Security Summit 2018

Assante is a frequent guest at global security events, delivering presentations such as the 2017 RSA Keynote: Seven Most Dangerous New Attack Techniques, chairs the SANS ICS Security Summit which is now on its 13th year, and presenting co-authored reports such as Outpacing Cyber Threats - Priorities for Cybersecurity at Nuclear Facilities for the Nuclear Threat Institute. His work in ICS security has been widely recognized and was selected by his peers as the winner of Information Security Magazine's Security Leadership Award for his efforts as a strategic thinker. The RSA 2005 Conference awarded him its Outstanding Achievement Award in the practice of security within an organization.

Michael co-led the international steering committee that created the most widely respected industrial control systems security skills certification program, the GICSP, which is now held by over 1,300 practitioners in more than 30 countries. The GICSP ensures control systems engineers and IT security staff have the core skills needed for strengthening defenses against cyber-attacks, serving as a benchmarking tool for practitioners and hiring managers alike.

For more information, please email ics@sans.org.


Award Description

The SANS ICS Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have contributed exceptional efforts to enhance the security of ICS on an international scale, and who actively strive to bridge the gap between IT and OT. Through education contributions to the community, they've significantly increased the awareness of risks to ICS and fostered the idea that cyber secure ICS implementations and defense in ICS are achievable. Recipients will be recognized for their dedication and contributions in shaping the ICS security field and for an optimistic outlook on the potential to make a difference.

The award selection panel seeks persons who exemplify passion, a pursuit of progress, and compassion in leadership within the ICS security community. To be considered for the award, nominees must demonstrate the following:

  • Passion for Progress, Innovation, and Change
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Dignity and Compassion for Others
  • Contributions to the Development of the ICS Community

For more information, please email ics@sans.org.


2017 Recipient - William "Art" Conklin

William "Art" Conklin, Associate Professor, Department of Information & Logistics Technology and Director, Center for Information Security Research & Education at the University of Houston was the first recipient of the annual SANS ICS Security Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Conklin was honored at the SANS ICS Security Summit which took place on March 20-21, 2017 in Orlando, Florida.

Dr. Conklin influenced the ICS security community for more than a decade, leading programs to produce the next generation of capable cyber warriors in the ICS security space. He has been a driving advocate for ICS security education across several national initiatives and has created a graduate level program in SCADA security as part of the University of Houston's Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.

The first ICS Security Lifetime Achievement Award was issued in honor of the great achievements of the late Ernest (Ernie) A. Rakaczky, Jr.* (1956 - 2015) - "A true pioneer in the field of Industrial Control System security"

*Ernie Rakaczky, Jr. was best known by his peers as an advocate with a passion for progress, innovation, and investment in the ICS field. Ernie served on the GICSP steering committee, where his expertise and insight directed the formulation of the certification. The award was established in 2016 in the memory of Ernie Rakaczky and recognizes his extensive passion for progress, innovation, and investment in the ICS field. The award selection panel seeks individuals who exemplify Ernie's passion and impact to the field of ICS security.

For more information, please email ics@sans.org.