Saturday, July 6, 2019

A farewell from Mike Assante

I just read on the SANS ICS Community perhaps the saddest post I've ever seen. It's by Mike Assante, former NERC CSO (in fact, I believe he was the first one), and someone who has been hugely important to the industrial cyber security field, and especially to grid security. To read about his accomplishments, you can go to his LinkedIn page.

He has been battling leukemia for a long time, and there have been ups and downs. This post is his farewell. When I first saw it, I thought he had written it because he had been told that the end was near. However, as you can see, he wrote it while he still could, with instructions that it not be posted until he had passed on. I hadn't heard that he had - and LinkedIn and the SANS website don't mention this at all - but I take this as notification of his passing.

Even though I didn't know him very well, I'm really going to miss him! As a final note, I'll point out that he concluded with a joke. Here's Mike's final post:

As you might have surmised this note is a goodbye to this ICS community.  I have been in a long, hard fight with Leukemia and it has come to an end.  I wanted to provide a final update to all my friends and the general ICS community upon my passing, as well as to provide my support in what all of you have chosen to do in your careers. 

I have had the honor to work alongside so many talented and passionate professionals throughout the years.  I need you to know that what you do and how you do it matters to communities, to companies, and to our nations.  I have worked hard alongside some of the greatest people to demonstrate the risks, provide strategies to manage it, and now to develop the workforce to enhance its security.  

I am especially proud to have collaborated with the communities from inside of Idaho National Laboratories (INL) and SANS.  I leave behind the people I loved to work with, especially as they are so focused on making a difference.  I want to thank all of you for what you do and what you have done, and I want to say farewell!

Continue your hard work and be confident that it is noble to protect infrastructures and your organizations value.  Your work is more important than most organizations understand, but we continue in it out of a sense of duty and passion.  You must carry-on, keep sharing with each other, and use this forum to continue to help our community.  I now get to take a whole new look at another infrastructure, but this time it’s in the sky (and I’m not talking about the 737 Max)!  

Sunday morning, July 7: For Robert M. Lee's very moving post on his good friend Mike, go here: