Dr. Roger Johnston – Don’t Swallow the Snake Oil:
Oscar Wilde, Method Acting, & Vulnerability Assessments

CITP Lecture Series

Date: Thursday, April 22, 2009
Time: 4:30 PM – 6:00 pm
Location: 101 Sherrerd Hall
Reception immediately following in 3rd floor atrium

Both cyber security and physical security (but especially the latter) are plagued with poor products, flawed practice, and sloppy thinking. This talk discusses what we can learn from Oscar Wilde and Method Acting about how to think critically about security. We will then examine some of the snake oil associated with GPS, RFIDs, tamper-indicating seals, biometrics, and other “security” technologies.


Roger G. Johnston, Ph.D., CPP, is head of the Vulnerability Assessment Team at Argonne National Laboratory. He was the founder and head of the Vulnerability Assessment Team at Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1992 to 2007. Johnston has provided consulting, vulnerability assessments, research, and physical security solutions for over 45 private companies, NGOs, and government organizations including IAEA, Euratom, U.S. Department of State, DoD, DOE/NNSA, DHS, FBI, and intelligence agencies. Johnston graduated from Carleton College (1977), and received M.S. & Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of Colorado (1983). He has authored over 115 technical papers and 60 invited talks, and holds 10 U.S. patents.