Last Updated: 06/26/2013*
Each day countless emails, purchases and web pages cross the great networked expanse of information we call the Internet. And every day, the work of Raytheon computer scientist Dr. Stephen Kent keeps that information secure and properly routed.
For 35 years, Kent has developed and promoted protocols that have paved the way for today’s Internet and email encryption standards. This month the Internet Society is recognizing Dr. Kent’s long history of contributions to cybersecurity by inducting him into the Internet Hall of Fame.
Stephen Kent, Raytheon BBN Technologies chief scientist for Security Technology and a pioneer in security for open networks, has been inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame. Raytheon Photo.
“I’m really quite flattered,” said Kent, chief scientist at Raytheon BBN Technologies. “There are a number of us here who have done work contributing to the internet evolution and we do have a sense of accomplishment and pride for the contributions that have been made.”
Kent’s pioneering work stretches back to his undergraduate years at Loyola University of New Orleans. He received one of only 20 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships, which brought him to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There he earned three additional degrees in computer science.
Kent contributed to the development of the world’s first Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) end-to-end encryption system. He authored the core Internet Protocol security suite (IPsec) standards, a key security component in all major operating systems, firewall products, and widely-deployed tunneling protocols.
Kent helped lead the creation of the first email security standard, Privacy Enhanced Mail (PEM), and established the Internet’s first Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), which introduced the concepts of certificate policies and certification practice statements.
Thanks to his work, the “packets” of data that make up Internet traffic can flow securely through different regions, networks and internet service providers.
“When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing,” said Jack Marin, vice president of Raytheon BBN Technologies. “What it really means is that every packet on the Internet is affected by his work.”
Kent is joining a prestigious group of computer scientists in the Hall of Fame. Last year the Internet Society inducted computer scientist Vinton Cerf, commonly recognized as one of the “fathers of the internet”, as well as fellow Raytheon BBN scientist Ray Tomlinson, who sent the first network email in 1971 and is responsible for the “@” in our email addresses.
Raytheon BBN Technologies’ Internet Hall of Fame Inductees: 2013 Inductee Steve Kent (front), chief scientist for Security Technology; and 2012 inductee Ray Tomlinson, a principal engineer. Raytheon Photo.
“It is an honor to join the distinguished individuals, including my BBN colleague Ray Tomlinson, in the Internet Hall of Fame,” Kent said. “Security and privacy have never been more challenging or important than they are today. Security experts must constantly design and implement leading-edge solutions to address an endless barrage of cyber threats.”
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