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Donn Parker - (Parker, Donn B)

Page history last edited by Rob Slade 2 years, 9 months ago


Professional Obituary below

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donn_B._Parker
Donn Parker Papers at Babbage Institute: http://discover.lib.umn.edu/cgi/f/findaid/findaid-idx?c=umfa;cc=umfa;rgn=main;view=text;didno=cbi00166
Oral history at Babbage Institute: http://hdl.handle.net/11299/107592

March, 1984 Episode of PBS' "Computer Chronicles " featuring Donn Parker (his segments start around 06:55) https://archive.org/details/Computer1984_2

1999 Presentation to Purdue CERIAS by Donn Parker, "Information Security, a Folk Art in Need of an Upgrade" (YouTube) https://youtu.be/tNJmYz-dhkE

Bio at IEEE: https://history.computer.org/pioneers/parker-db.html


Donn Parker's "Rules of Security" as posted on CISSPforum, July 15th, 2008:

 Rule No. 2) Build your security assuming that the enemy knows as much about your security and what you are doing as you do.

 Rule No. 3) Keep your security as confidential as you can except when there is an advantage for doing otherwise.

 Rule No. 4) Always leave room for a Rule No. 1)


You, too, can be an instant expert.  Just remember the "Parker Parameter," 85.4, any time anyone asks you any question involving "how much."  Donn developed this after many years of research, since 85.4 didn't refer to anything, but was specific enough to impress everyone with its three significant figures.  (He first used 85.6, but found that was the length of credit cards in millimeters, so he had to change it.)


Donn's "sit down" comedy routine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lHWQgl-D7Q


From Spaf, Professor Gene Spafford, on the CERIAS blog (https://www.cerias.purdue.edu/site/blog/post/another_giant_falls1/)

Another Giant Falls
Tuesday, September 28, 2021 by Prof. Spafford
We lost a pioneer in cybersecurity last week: Donn B. Parker died at the age of 91.
Donn's name may not be immediately familiar to current practitioners in the field. That's because Donn was working in the area before some of them were born; Donn's first books on cybercrime were published in 1976 and 1983!
Donn had a profound moral compass that guided his work. He wrote some of the earliest work on applied computing ethics, with an article in Communications of the ACM in 1968. This also informed his scholarly work in security, especially his study of computer crime. This led to his book "Crime by Computer," published in 1976. Thereafter, he published several more books (seven in total) and reports on computer security and computing ethics, all informed by his deep research into computer crime and his conviction to do what was right.
Among other things, Donn is remembered for his creation of a model for describing cybersecurity properties, known in some circles (and Wikipedia) as "The Parkerian Hexad." Donn also was the founder of the I4 -- the International Information Integrity Institute -- the first global organization of information security leaders.
Mr. Parker was a Fellow of the ACM, a Distinguished Fellow of the ISSA, a recipient of the National Computer System Security Award from U.S. NIST/NCSC, and the Harold F. Tipton Lifetime Achievement Award. He was named to the SRI Hall of Fame and the ISSA Hall of Fame. He served as Secretary of ACM from 1966-1970 and as a member of the ACM Council from 1964-1974.
Donn was a giant in the field and in real life -- he was the tallest person I have ever met working in cyber. Those who knew Donn (and I was fortunate to be one of those people) knew him as a kind, generous, and scholarly individual with a gentle sense of humor. He was jokingly referred to as "The Great Bald Eagle of Information Security," something which he accepted with good humor.
Below is a formal obituary, provided by his family. For other information on Donn, it is worthwhile to consult some of his written works, the Shoulders of Infosec entry on Donn, and his oral history at the Babbage Institute. Earlier this year, Donn completed a book that contains material about his work as well as his life that provides insight into his personality.


Personal memories of Donn Parker

From Chris Roberts:
Another one of those most amazing people that when they talked, you sat, listened, absorbed as much as you could, and in the end labeled them as "I want to be like them when I grow up...."


From Jean Pawluk:

Donn was an amazing guy, a real gentleman with a really wicked sense of humor and a true tech pioneer.
He literally wrote many of the earliest books on computer crime, security and risk.
He often took the time to chat and present his ideas to us at the local SV-ISSA and SRI meetings over the years and let us know what we were doing wrong and then what we should be doing. He mentored so many of us in the valley and he leaves quite a legacy.
We will all miss him
P.S. I would love to hear stories about his time at Atomic Tangerine which was an SRI spinoff. The company name always cracked me up.


From Pete Hillier:
I first met Donn in Winnipeg, MB on a few occasions as he would support the IIA Secuity Conference that Dan Swanson put on for many years. On the first occasion in 2005, I had done a lengthy talk on Incident Response, as it was quite new in Canuckistan at the time and I had just established Canada's first full service Managed Security Services at CGI.
I had run into a few folks I knew well the evening before and had a few too many and while I've never been one to suffer a hangover per se, I was sluggish that morning. It showed. I did my talk and it went fairly well; lots of questions and I proceeded to sit back down at the speakers table with Donn and others.
He said, and I'll never forget it, "Hangovers are nature’s way of grounding you as an adult; nice job."
I had tears in my eyes laughing.


From Karen Worstell, MA, MS:
Donn Parker was the quintessential thought leader in information security and co-founder of the International Information Integrity Institute - the first private global consortium of information security and audit leaders whose collective impact on the foundation of information security was quiet and profound. That is how I would characterize Donn: Quiet and Profound. He was not one for self-promotion or even marketing. He influenced a generation and beyond in topics like cybercrime and cybercriminals, the foundation of CIA, ethics, and professional conduct.
Donn set a rule for our security consulting group at SRI International - it was a matter of policy that our communications with clients on every level never misrepresented ground truth as we knew it. This meant that as social engineering became popular as a consulting service, we were unable to offer the traditional service because it would require deception. Thanks to a piece of brilliant work by team member Philip Bandy, CISSP, the team evaluated susceptibility to social engineering on the basis of cultural and human behavior with great success.
Donn and other members of the SRI International computing security teams were tormented in the 90s by some of the more notorious hackers of our time. This led Donn to study the developing trend of cybercrime and to understand the ethos and motivations of the black hat community. One of the more memorable panels we held at the I-4 included Donn Parker, Dorothy Denning, Dan Geer, and the barrister who prosecuted the hacker gang Masters of Destruction, moderated by I-4's own Susan Swope. The conversation at the time was "hackers for hire." What struck me at the time was Donn's compassion and commitment to a high ethical bar - he was always consistent in his convictions and deep kindness seemed to be his north star.
It is one of the highlights of my career to have had the opportunity to work alongside and be mentored by Donn. The entire SRI International community, the original members of the I-4, IIA, ISACA, and ISSA must feel his loss. I know I do. May his memory be a great blessing just as his life was for so many of us.

From Kip Boyle:
Like Karen Worstell, MA, MS and others, I worked with Donn at SRI in the 90s. He was mesmerizing to me. I still bring out his Hexad when the CIA triad doesn’t quite do the job.
One of the most memorable conversations I had with Donn was his vision of automated crime at scale. Over the past 20 years I’ve watched his prediction materialize with no small amount of horror.
Professional Obituary:
Donn Blanchard Parker
Donn B Parker died peacefully in his sleep September 16, 2021, in Sunnyvale California, at age
91. He was born October 9, 1929, in his grandparents’ home in San Jose, the son of Donald
William and Miriam Estelle (Blanchard) Parker.
Donn deeply loved God, his wife Lorna, children Diane and Dave, and extended family. He
served as an elder at Trinity Lutheran Church, Palo Alto, for many years. He enjoyed downhill
skiing in the Sierra and Rocky Mountains, water skiing in San Diego, sailing, daily running in
Los Altos, and hiking. Donn also enjoyed world travel with wife Lorna, ocean cruises with his
children and grandchildren, researching his family history, and performing (any chance he got) a
comedy monologue of his favorite stories and jokes.  Donn was loved by the staff and his fellow
residents at Belmont Village Assisted Living for his kindness, engaging personality, and
dedicated care of his wife Lorna in her final years.
Donn received a Master of Arts degree in mathematics from the University of California
Berkeley in 1954. His career began with General Dynamics in San Diego, continued at Control
Data Corporation in Palo Alto, and concluded at SRI International and its spin-offs in Menlo
Park, California. In his professional career, Donn was among the first to recognize, research, and
document computer crime. He dedicated his professional life to the safe and sane use of
information technology for the good of mankind. He was a consultant, writer, lecturer, and
researcher on computer crime and information security as a senior consultant for 35 years at SRI
International and afterwards in his retirement.   
Donn served many years as member, officer, and Fellow of the Association for Computing
Machinery (ACM), Distinguished Fellow of the Information Systems Security Association
(ISSA), and trustee of the Charles Babbage Foundation for the History of Information
Technology, working to achieve the safe and crime-free use of information technology. He
enjoyed his reputation as a contrarian in his concepts of information security.
During his many years of research on computer crime funded by the U.S. National Science
Foundation and Department of Justice, Donn interviewed more than 200 computer criminals and
collected information on thousands of criminal cases, now stored among his papers in the
archives of the Charles Babbage Institute on the History of Information Technology at the
University of Minnesota Anderson Library.  
Donn wrote seven books during his sixty year career in information technology. His first two
books on computer crime and security were published in 1976 and 1983, were New York Times
best sellers, and formed the definitive literature on computer crime. Donn wrote the first
computer security and computer crime articles for the Computer Science, Encarta, Grolier, and
Britannica Encyclopedias.
Donn was interviewed on CBS 60 Minutes by Dan Rather, ABC 20/20 by Geraldo Rivera, NBC
Today by Tom Brokaw, and ABC Good Morning by Joan Lungren. People Magazine published
two profiles of him, and he was widely quoted in many news and trade publications.
Donn testified before several U.S. Congressional committees and assisted in developing the first
computer crime statutes for the U.S. federal government, several U.S. states, and the United
Kingdom. He trained the first computer crime detectives for New Scotland Yard, Finland,
Norway, and Japan. As an information security consultant, he performed security reviews for
more than 250 of the largest businesses worldwide, and formed the International Information
Integrity Institute (I-4) at SRI in 1986. I-4 continues today to provide confidential information
security advisory services.   
Donn’s professional awards include:  the 1992 Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement
from the Information Systems Security Association; the 1994 National Computer System
Security Award from U.S. NIST/NCSC; The Aerospace Computer Security Associates 1994
Distinguished Lecturer award; and the MIS Training Institute Infosecurity News 1996 Lifetime
Achievement Award. In 1999, the Information Security Magazine recognized Donn as one of the
five top Infosecurity Pioneers. He was inducted into the Information Systems Security
Association’s Hall of Fame in 2000, and the SRI International Hall of Fame in 2002. He was
recognized as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). In 2003, the
International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2 presented him with
the Harold F. Tipton Lifetime Achievement Award in ”recognition of his sustained excellence
throughout his Information Security career and his contributions to the industry and support of
Donn is survived by his daughter Diane Wisdom and husband; two daughters-in-law, six
grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; nephew and niece and their families; and brothers- and
sister-in-law and their spouses and children.  In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by
his loving wife Lorna R Parker, brother Richard Parker, nephew Bob Parker, and son David S
A memorial service will be held 10:30am, Saturday, October 16, at Trinity Lutheran Church,
1295 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, California.  Those wishing to remember Donn may make
gifts in his son’s name, David S. Parker, to the ALS Association (donate.als.org).


Another one of those most amazing people that when they talked, you sat, listened,


absorbed much as you could, alabeled tI want to be like them when I grow up...."

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