Who's Who in Infosec is an ongoing series featuring profiles of security professionals and their contributions to the industry. SearchSecurity.com will recognize one of these individuals with the SearchSecurity.com Trailblazer Leadership Award at Security Decisions 2003. SearchSecurity.com members are invited to submit nominations for the award through Aug. 1, 2003.
Whitfield Diffie, chief security officer of Sun Microsystems, has been at Sun since 1991. Prior to Sun, Diffie was manager of Secure Systems Research at Northern Telecom, a position he held since 1978.
Best known for his 1975 discovery of the concept of public key cryptography, Diffie spent the 1990s working primarily on the public policy aspects of cryptography. His position in opposition to limitations on the business and personal use of cryptography is the subject of a recent book, Crypto, by Steven Levy of Newsweek. In addition, Diffie has been featured in articles of multiple publications, New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Wired, Omni and Discover as well as on CNN, the Discovery Channel, the BBC and the Japanese TV network NHK.
Diffie is a fellow of the Marconi Foundation and author, jointly with Susan Landau, of the book Privacy on the Line. Diffie is a graduate in mathematics of MIT and Dr. sc. techn. (hc) of the ETH in Zurich.