The poster outside the third-floor office in the University of California, San Diego's computer sciences building depicts Doc Savage, the big-muscled, bald-headed, fearsome-faced comic book hero. Inside the office sits a different Doc Savage. Stefan Savage is a pale-faced, 40-year-old, T-shirt-and-shorts-wearing college professor. But in the world of cybercrime fighting — where the strength of your code, not your biceps, is what matters — this Doc Savage cuts quite the imposing figure.
Long considered a top cyber-security expert, Savage leads a team at the Collaborative Center for Internet Epidemiology and Defenses, a joint UCSD and UC-Berkeley effort that last month was awarded a five-year, $7 million grant from the U.S. Navy's research arm to study botnets and the threats they pose to national security.
The threats are real, Savage says, and he has become convinced those responsible for protecting against them are going about it in the wrong way. "By any reasonable measure of us against the bad guys in cyber security, the bad guys are winning," he says.
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