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Ex-U.S. Attorney Hickton to head Pitt's Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security

| Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, 10:09 a.m.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
U.S. Attorney David Hickton helps present a 64-page report by the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics concerning the opioid epidemic in Western Pennsylvania and the community response at the Federal Courthouse, Downtown, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016.
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
U.S. Attorney David Hickton speaks to the Tribune-Review on Friday, Feb. 26, 2016.

Former U.S. Attorney David Hickton will be the University of Pittsburgh's founding director of the Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security, the university announced Wednesday.

“With the appointment of David Hickton, the University of Pittsburgh is poised to offer significant contributions to the national discussion on cyber-related issues affecting personal, national and global security and privacy,” Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said in a statement.

Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia Beeson said Hickton will be tasked with assembling “a group of leading thinkers” in the cyber law and security field to work with Pitt researchers and other faculty. During his time as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania from 2010 until he stepped down in November, Hickton made combating cyber crime and curtailing the heroin and opioid epidemic two of his office's major priorities.

As a U.S. attorney, Hickton indicted five members of a Chinese cybertheft ring that preyed on several Pittsburgh-area firms, broke up Darkode, a computer hacking marketplace and charged well-known Russian hacker Evgeniy Bogachev, the university noted.

The university said Hickton also has been named a fellow in Pitt's Institute of Politics.

“The challenges of the digital platform and cybersecurity are real,” Hickton said. “It is the crime paradigm of this era, and to defeat it, we must have the full participation of the public and private sectors, as well as the university community.”

Hickton practiced law for more than 25 years. He graduated from Pitt's law school in 1981 and earned a bachelor's degree from Penn State in 1978.

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