The Cyber Operations, Analysis, and Research (COAR) section is a dedicated cybersecurity team within Argonne’s Risk and Infrastructure Science Center. Our mission encompasses cyber intelligence, cyber physical, and cyber resilience across our three main areas of operations, analysis, and research.
Prior to Argonne, Benjamin spent four and a half years leading the information security program for a publicly-traded software company. Previously, he spent time with the federal government, Iowa State University’s Internet-Scale Event and Attack Generation Environment (ISEAGE) laboratory, and a 501(c)(3) non-profit in varied roles including technical support, research, system administration, security engineering, and leadership. He is a co-founder of the Ames, Iowa chapter of OWASP and a regular presenter on Information Security topics in the Des Moines area. Benjamin received his Bachelors and Doctorate degrees in Computer Engineering with a focus on Information Assurance from Iowa State University. His dissertation was on the topic of cyber warfare, and specifically on network attack attribution using statistical methods adapted from literary analysis. He holds Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) & Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certifications, and is the lead inventor on two patents for encryption key management in cloud-based architectures.
Steven is a Cyber Security Analyst in the Risk and Infrastructure Science Center (RISC). He graduated from Lewis University with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science and is currently working to obtain a Masters Degree in Computer Science, also from Lewis University. Prior to joining Argonne, Steven worked in various physical security fields and conducted student/mentor research for Lewis University, while also leading a Cyber Defense Club for the Computer Science Department.
Nate Evans currently serves as the lead for the COAR section. Nate received his Doctorate in Computer Engineering with a specialty in Cybersecurity from Iowa State University. Prior to joining Argonne, Nate managed cybersecurity and cyber defense activities at several private-sector companies. He is considered a key asset by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in several cybersecurity capabilities including the development of a cybersecurity vulnerability assessment for field use, analysis of cybersecurity consequence and threat studies, and leading the pilot cyber-physical regional assessment. Nate along with the team have also developed a patent pending operational instance of moving target defense (MTD) and has worked in a variety of other cybersecurity research areas including transportation, satellite communications, social engineering, and offensive cybersecurity.
Jennifer Fowler holds a Bachelors Degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and completed her Masters Degree in Information Security from Lewis University in December 2017. During her undergraduate career, she worked in a corn genomics lab, where she and other scientists employed the tools of functional genomics to understand the molecular mechanisms behind a variety of agronomic traits in maize. Jennifer worked on the Illinois long-term selection experiment, where she elucidated the genetic changes in maize populations due to selection. She also worked on Energy Corn, which focused on developing maize as a platform for cellulosic biofuel production. Jennifer started out at Argonne as an analyst in 2011, assessing vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure. After a few years, she moved into the cyber area, and officially became a member of COAR in early 2016. Jennifer is a member of her school’s cyber defense club, and she enjoys learning and teaching about the applicability of tools and exploits. Her areas of interests include cryptography, data privacy, social engineering, and IoT.
Bill Horsthemke, PhD, CISSP, is a computer scientist in the Risk and Infrastructure Science Center at Argonne National Laboratory. He focuses on complying with cybersecurity requirements and developing new technologies and methods to improve cybersecurity. His extensive software, systems, and network engineering experience has focused on measurement, control, animation and visualization, statistical analysis, machine learning, and decision support. Bill has an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Chicago and a PhD in computer science from DePaul University.
Michael Jaynes is a Cyber Analyst. He spent two summers working as a Research Aide with the team before joining full-time, while pursuing his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of North Texas. Michael currently holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Stephen F. Austin State University and a Master’s of Arts in English from Ohio University. His dissertation topic is the application of machine learning algorithms to vehicle network data, but he is also interested in vehicle cybersecurity and cryptography in general. In his previous life, before he discovered the excitement of working in the cyber field, he was a wannabe poet and taught high school and community college students!
Amanda Joyce has worked as a subject matter expert in cybersecurity since 2011. At Argonne National Laboratory, she provides expertise to DHS as an instructor of cybersecurity. She has lead and co-lead two strategic studies on remote access within industrial control systems and cloud technology (respectively) and written or assisted in 6 published articles. She conducts cybersecurity assessments and surveys for DHS with the intent to evaluate the cybersecurity posture of critical infrastructure. She additionally works with budget control and effort allocation. Prior to her work as a Cyber Security Analyst, she has worked as a technical point of contact for cybersecurity within other divisions at Argonne National Laboratory. In May of 2011, she received her triad Bachelors of Science degree in Accounting, Information Security & Risk Management, and Management Information Systems along with a Distinguished Honors diploma. In May 2013, she received her Masters of Science degree in Information Security.
Joshua Lyle is a Cyber Security Analyst who received his master’s degree in computer science from Mississippi State University. He spent the Summers of 2015 and 2016 working at Argonne National Lab as part of the COAR internship program. During that time, his primary focus was working on an encryption system for email, called the Mobile Encryption Gateway (MEG), that automated the process of using strong encryption in everyday email clients for secure communication. Prior to his formal schooling, Josh’s primary hobby in grade school was computing which gave him experience with programming, Linux, and cyber security early on.
Shannon Ott came to the Global Security Sciences Division as an intern in 2012. In May of 2013, she received her Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from Lewis University, where she graduated with highest honors and the Departmental Award for outstanding excellence in Computer Science. She was converted to full time staff and has served as a member of the division’s IT team since graduating. She actively works with the other members of the Operations team to protect the network from cyber threats, maintain the system architecture, and support other key infrastructure.
Alec Poczatek is a Cyber Security Analyst with a Masters Degree in Information Assurance and Computer Engineering from Iowa State University of Science and Technology. Prior to joining Argonne, Alec was employed at various areas within the U.S. government as a project manager and software engineer as well as Workiva, LLC., where he developed online web applications for SEC reporting. During his undergraduate career Alec co-founded a student run hackathon, HackISU. Alec works on various projects within the cyber realm and has a variety of interests from graph theory to social engineering as well as everything in between.
Nathan Rinsema, CISSP, MCSE is a cybersecurity specialist in the Global Security Sciences (GSS) Division at Argonne National Laboratory. His primary focus is leading the Cyber Operations section of COAR. In this capacity, he serves as the Information Security Officer for DHS systems developed and hosted by the GSS. He also servers as a subject matter expert for various assessment and training programs. These include Site Assist Visits (SAVs), Regional Resiliency Assessment Program (RRAP), C-IST (Cyber Infrastructure Survey Tool) and Fusion Center cybersecurity training. Nathan has an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Trinity Christian College.
Roland Varriale graduated from Manhattan College with a degree in Computer Science and the University of Scranton with a Masters Degree in Software Engineering. Roland has worked in various capacities from a business analyst to an intelligent transportation systems researcher and developer. He is interested in the application of security principles and protocols to VANETs and Intelligent Transportation Systems as well as personal device security on the “Internet of Things.”