David J. Hickton is the founding director of the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security. At Pitt, Mr. Hickton also has secondary faculty appointments as professor in the School of Law, the School of Computing and Information, and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Prior to working at Pitt, he served as United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. He was nominated by former President Barack Obama in 2010 and held the position until November 2016.
Hickton’s major fields of expertise include addressing cyber threats and combating the national heroin and opioid crisis. He is an advocate for cybersecurity vigilance, along with the development of new and innovative methods to defend the nation and combat cybercrime. During his tenure as U.S. Attorney, David had several high-profile indictments including five members of the Chinese military for economic espionage, and Russian hacker Evgeniy Bogachev, one of the most prominent cyber criminals in the world. David prosecuted groundbreaking cases including Darkode, the largest English-speaking cybercrime forum where information was bought, sold, traded and shared among cyber criminals. He also successfully brought community prosecutions against large-scale drug traffickers, and was part of dismantling the GameOver Zeus Botnet, a global network of infected victim computers that was designed to be “impossible” to take down.
Prior to becoming U.S. Attorney, Hickton engaged in the private practice of flaw, specifically in the areas of transportation, litigation, commercial and white-collar crime. He began his legal career serving as a law clerk for the Honorable U. S. District Judge Gustave Diamond from 1981 to 1983. For more than a decade, Hickton was an adjunct professor at the Duquesne University School of Law, where he taught antitrust.
A fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County, Hickton has been admitted before numerous courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. At the request of President Bill Clinton, he previously served on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Hickton has long been a staunch supporter of many civic organizations, including those that benefit children and the arts. He served as an executive board member and president of Pittsburgh Public Theater and was a member of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
David is a dynamic speaker; his engagements touch on subjects including cybersecurity and cyber threats, leadership and the virtues of servant leadership, building safer communities, enhancing community police trust, combating the national opioid epidemic, shaping the future and more. Known for his tireless and passionate advocacy, David speaks from the heart and displays an intrinsic understanding of a variety of topics.