Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security

Russian Hacking: What Do We Know and How Is This Different?

During and after the U.S. presidential election, the subject of Russian hacking has dominated the news. What is the state of Russian activities in cyberspace? What is the broader historical and ideological context behind these activities, and what misperceptions exist? What differences are there between U.S. and Russian views on acceptable use of cyber tools, and can we find common ground? Ultimately, how should the United States and other countries respond? A diverse panel of experts, led by former U.S. attorney David J. Hickton, head of the new University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security, held a dynamic discussion of these issues on February 2, 2017.

Watch the event below:

Welcoming remarks and introduction of the Institute

Patrick Gallagher

Patrick Gallagher


As chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, Patrick Gallagher works to advance Pitt's legacy of academic excellence, collaboration and research innovation. Prior to serving as the university's 18th chancellor, Gallagher spent the bulk of his career in public service at the U.S. Department of Commerce, most recently as acting deputy secretary and director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Patricia Beeson

Patricia E. Beeson

Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor

Dr. Patricia E. Beeson was elected provost by the University’s Board of Trustees in June 2010. As provost and senior vice chancellor, Dr. Beeson is the chief academic officer of the University, exercising general oversight over academic affairs on all five Pitt campuses. She works closely with Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and other members of the University’s leadership team, providing the academic vision and the fiscal discipline to foster future success in an environment characterized not only by nearly limitless opportunities but also by clearly limited resources.


David J. Hickton, Institute Director

David J. Hickton

Institute Director

David J. Hickton, former United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, has been an advocate for cybersecurity vigilance, as well as the development of methods to defend the nation’s systems infrastructure. He played an integral role in creating legal practices for cybercrime investigations and prioritized the prosecution of computer crimes throughout his tenure from 2010 to 2016. High-profile indictments included those of five members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army for cyber theft and Russian hacker Evgeniy Bogachev, one of the most prominent cybercriminals in the world.


Ellen Nakashima

Ellen Nakashima

National Security Reporter, The Washington Post

Nakashima is a national security reporter for The Washington Post. She writes about issues relating to intelligence policy and surveillance.
 Keith Mularski

Keith Mularski

Supervisory Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Mularski is a supervisory special agent assigned to the FBI's Pittsburgh Division, where he has worked closely with private industry, law enforcement, and academia to develop proactive targeting protocols for emerging cyber threats.
 Andrei Soldatov

Andrei Soldatov

Russian Investigative Journalist and Security Services Expert

Soldatov, a Russian investigative journalist and cofounder/editor of, a watchdog of the Russian secret service’s activities, has been covering security services and terrorism issues since 1999.
Luke Dembosky

Luke Dembosky

Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Practice

Dembosky joined Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in March 2016 after serving as deputy assistant attorney general for national security at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), where he oversaw DOJ’s first national security cyber portfolio.