Dan Geer

IRL Name: 
Dan Geer

Dan Geer is a computer security analyst and risk management specialist. He is a 1972 graduate of MIT with a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, as well as a 1988 Harvard graduate where he received his Doctor of Science (Sc.D) in biostatics. Geer was a key contributor to the development of the X Window System, as well as the Kerberos authentication protocol while a member of the Athena Project at MIT in the 1980s. Shortly after, he created the first information security consulting firm on Wall Street in 1992; followed by, organizing one of the first academic conferences on electronic commerce in 1995.

In 2003, Geer's 24-page report entitled "CyberInsecurity: The Cost of Monopoly" was released by the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA). The paper argued that Microsoft's dominance of desktop computer operating systems is a threat to national security. Geer was fired (from consultancy @Stake) the day the report was made public. Geer has cited subsequent changes in the Vista operating system (notably a location-randomization feature) as evidence that Microsoft "accepted the paper."


Geer's Law: Any security technology whose effectiveness can't be empirically determined is indistinguishable from blind luck.

He is also the past president of the USENIX Association, where he earned a Lifetime Achievement Award.