Cyber-industry veteran Michael Assante passes away

Michael Assante, director of critical infrastructure and ICS at the SANS Institute, passed away early on July 5 after losing a long battle with cancer.

The news was announced by his wife Christina in a Facebook post. She said Assante, who served in the U.S. Navy, was surrounded by his family at the time of his passing.

“Though loss is never easy, he definitely spent the past two months trying to help ease us into our grief in a loving and healthy way. He focused on those he loved in his last week specifically, making sure we knew of his unending love for us,” she wrote.

Assante’s role at SANS was only one of several posts he held. He also served as senior associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Strategic Technologies Program, Executive Steering Committee Member at GICSP Executive Steering Committee, co-founder of NextDefense and was a member of the board for The Center of Internet Security.

“In his life he was a loving family man, but also an inspirational figure to so many in our profession. He took the time to care, the time to share and the time to help everyone. He made the grid safer and better for all. He made security stronger and inspired many to follow in his footsteps,” said Art Conklin, director, Center for Information Security Research and Education, University of Houston, in a Facebook post.

Fond remembrances from industry colleagues continue to come in:

“I could write a book about Michael’s professional accomplishments, but all of these incredible professional accomplishments fall far short of describing who Michael was and why so many people loved him,” said Adam Lipson, president and CEO of Network and Security Technologies.

“A lot has been said about Mike and a lot will continue to be said by many. The mere fact is he impacted an unreal number of people and we’ll all spend years figuring out how much stuff he actually did behind the scenes,” said Robert M. Lee, in his blog.

“Mike's innumerable intellectual contributions to ICS and SCADA security, as well as to the wider infosec industry, are enduring. His tireless work ethic and expertise while taking on a succession of industry-leading roles over the years has pushed various areas of cybersecurity forward in myriad ways that are still felt today by existing and up-and-coming generations of professionals and the various practices they enlist to safeguard innumerable critical infrastructures. He showed a genuine care for the efficacy and future of this industry, all while consistently personifying integrity, honesty, commitment, generosity and kindness. He was a true friend and thoughtful colleague to many of us who will be missed greatly,” said Illena Armstrong, SC Media’s vice president of editorial.

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