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Prof Danny Dresner

Professor of Cyber Security, University of Manchester


7 lessons from the 1950s

Moving beyond train-the-user and buy-this-tech


Daniel is the first Professor of Cyber Security at the University of Manchester which he joined after 22 years with The National Computing Centre. He takes a diverse community-based approach to cyber security, running exercises to help people cope with the risk of on-line harms. He is a founder of The IASME Consortium applying his work in standards to champion cyber security for SMEs.

He is a vocal advocate of the local cyber ecosystem, furthering the opportunities cyber security offers innovation and growth as part of the Centre for Digital Trust and Society, and Manchester City Centre’s DiSH – Digital Security Hub. Daniel lectures about risk and cyber defence to Indian and Western Balkans cohorts at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom for the Chevening Programme.

Daniel revived The Ratio Club thought leadership group for cybernetics as part of his research work promoting the balance between people and technology. Daniel contributes to books, conferences, and appears on the BBC explaining cyber security to the wider community. He is a Fellow and Founder member of the Chartered Institute of Information Security. Daniel was voted a top 20 cyber security influencer worldwide 2018-2021 and Best Educator at the Security Serious Awards 2022.

Presentation overview

Bring me the head – and the rest of the body – of Norbert Wiener! Amongst the barrage of cyber security threats, we are constantly attacked with guilt throws from IT people who talk about stupid users and defensive smiles from users who take pride in not understanding the equipment they use! Stereotypes are not helpful! Meanwhile, the pendulum of cliché swings from train-the-users to buy-this-tech. to save you. Silver bullets have included WYSIWYGs, antivirus, firewalls, Clippy (bless!), blockchains, Phishing, and now AI. Bruce Schneier famously said, ‘If you think technology can solve your security problems, then you don’t understand the problems and you don’t understand the technology.’.

In this piece, Danny Dresner goes back to the 1950s and 1960s and saves a few ideas from the carnage of AI, returning to the future to propose 7 principles for a digital olive branch for people to meet the machines and dance into the sunrise of better, safer times…