ISSA International Announces 2017 Cybersecurity Awards Winners

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Eleven Leaders Awarded for Outstanding Contributions to the Cybersecurity Community


We are proud to recognize these individuals and organizations who are amongst the most dedicated and innovative in raising the bar for the industry and the profession alike.

The Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) announced today the 2017 ISSA International Awards winners. This year eleven leaders in cybersecurity have been recognized for their contributions to advancing the cybersecurity profession and industry: Gail Coury, Russ McRee, Center for Internet Security, Frank Gearhart, Robert Martin, Jake Ross, Elisa Bertino, Brian Krebs, ISSA Chattanooga Chapter, ISSA Central Maryland Chapter and ISSA Colorado Springs Chapter.

Each year outstanding individuals, chapters, and organizations are selected by the ISSA Awards Committee, which is comprised largely of past recipients. The recipients are at the forefront of protecting personal and corporate information for some of the world’s largest organizations and government agencies, shaping the industry, and giving back to the community. The 2017 ISSA International Awards winners are as follows:

This award recognizes chapters that have done an exceptional job of supporting ISSA’s mission, serving their member communities and advancing the field.

Chapter of the Year: Small - ISSA Chattanooga Chapter
Chapter of the Year: Medium - ISSA Central Maryland Chapter
Chapter of the Year: Large - ISSA Colorado Springs Chapter

This lifetime achievement award recognizes an individual's sustained contributions to the information security community, the advancement of the association and enhancement of the professionalism of the membership.

Gail Coury is the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of Oracle Cloud and is breaking new ground in cloud platform information security. Gail has contributed to the security profession for over twenty years serving as the security leader for Galileo, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, and Oracle. Gail is on the Advisory Board of the ISSA CISO Executive Forum and a mentor/leader in a number of organizations such as the ISACA International Advisory Council for Women in Technology and the Oracle Women Leadership group.

Russ McRee has a strong history in the information security as a teacher, practitioner and writer. He is responsible for 107 technical papers published in the ISSA Journal under his Toolsmith byline in 2006-2015. These articles represent a body of knowledge for the hands-on practitioner that is second to none. These titles span an extremely wide range of deep network security topics. Russ has been an invited speaker at the key international computer security venues including DEFCON, Derby Con, BlueHat, Black Hat, SANSFIRE, RSA, ISSA International.

This award recognizes candidates with a sustained, proactive presence that directly contributed to the overall good and professionalism of the association and its membership, providing either services, products and/or direct support that ensures the promotion of the highest ethical standards in addressing information security and its future direction.

Center for Internet Security (CIS) provides a collaborative global IT community to safeguard private and public organizations against cyber threats. It is best known for the CIS Controls and CIS Benchmarks, which are arguably the global standard for securing IT systems and data against the most pervasive attacks. The founding organizations or partners of CIS include ISACA®, The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC2) and The SANS Institute (System Administration, Networking and Security).

This award recognizes a member who has made a significant difference to their chapter, the association or the information security community through dedicated and selfless service to ISSA.

Frank Gearhart distinguished himself through countless volunteer hours with the Colorado Springs ISSA Chapter. He consistently taught the chapter's CISSP Exam Prep Review Seminar classes and the chapter's Security+ Exam Prep Review Seminar classes, every year since 2014. He reviewed and analyzed the new 2015 (ISC)2 CISSP Common Body of Knowledge. Frank is the consummate Cyber Security Professional, willing to research and teach any topic, often on short notice.

Robert Martin’s contribution to the Raleigh ISSA chapter's success cannot be understated. Robert served as the chapter's president from January of 2013 to December of 2015 and is now the Sponsorship Director. He has demonstrated initiative and leadership while developing multiple programs at the ISSA, including CISSP reviews, information security awareness through partnerships with other North Carolina entities and area schools including North Carolina State University, East Carolina University, Wake Technical Community College, East Coast Polytechnic Institute, and Carolina Career College.

Jake Ross is the president of Cyber Hui, a non-profit organization that focuses on inspiring Hawaii's youth to be the next generation's cyber security professionals and member of the ISSA Hawaii chapter. Jake works closely with middle schools, high schools, local colleges, University of Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific University, Department of Defense, Federal, State, and local governments to achieve Cyber Hui’s goals. He is actively involved in the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot program, which is a High School National Cyber Defense Competition.

This lifetime achievement award recognizes an individual's exceptional qualities of leadership in his or her own career and organization as well as an exemplary commitment to the information security profession.

Elisa Bertino is recognized for her 30 years of contributions to the information security profession. Her academic research is widely cited in the industry. She has authored or co-authored 8 books, has published 228 papers in scientific international journals and 324 papers in international conferences, symposia, and workshops. She is also a Fellow of the ACM, of a Fellow of the IEEE, and a Fellow of the AAAS.

This award recognizes an individual's contribution to the information security profession in the area of public service.

Brian Krebs is an investigative journalist best know for his blog and news site focused on information security. His analysis of the bad actors and the dark web shines a light on the criminals and their methods that attack information security. The information that he exposes to the light of day makes the jobs of white hats and blue teamers easier. Brian is the household name that broke the story of the Target Corporation credit card breach that affected over 40 million credit cards in 2013.

“We are proud to recognize these individuals and organizations who are amongst the most dedicated and innovative in raising the bar for the industry and the profession alike,” said Mark Hahn, Chairman of the Awards Committee.

Past awards have honored such high-profile industry leaders as Dave Cullinane, Mary Ann Davidson, Stephen Northcutt, Alan Paller, Marcus Ranum, Ron Ross, Eugene Spafford, Howard Schmidt, Bruce Schneier and Harold Tipton.

The awards will be presented during the ISSA International Conference, themed “Digital Danger Zone,” to be held October 9-11 at the Sheraton Hotel and Marina in San Diego, CA.

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About ISSA
The Information Systems Security Association (ISSA)® is a not-for-profit organization. It is the community of choice for international cybersecurity professionals and practitioners dedicated to advancing individual growth, managing technology risk and protecting critical information and infrastructure. It’s mission is a commitment to promoting effective cyber security on a global basis: serving as a respected forum for networking and collaboration, providing education and knowledge sharing at all career lifecycle stages, and acting as a highly regarded voice of information security that influences public opinion, government legislation, education and technology with objective expertise that supports sound decision-making. Visit ISSA at

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