ISI Directory

Terry Benzel

Research Scientist, Associate Director of ISI, Director of the Networking and Cybersecurity Division


M.B.A, University of California Los Angeles
M.S. Mathematics, Boston University


Ms. Terry Benzel is an Associate Director of the Information Sciences Institute (ISI) of the University of Southern California and Director of the Networking Cybersecurity Research Division at ISI. She is a member of the executive leadership of ISI. In that role, she focuses on culture, community, and communication. She establishes, leads, and contributes to ISI committees including, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, ISI Mentoring Program, the ISI Fellow Program, and the Information Technology Advisory Committee.

In her role as Director, of Networking and Cybersecurity Research at ISI she empowers a dynamic team of 70 researchers, faculty, students, and support staff as they pursue innovative research in the analysis, measurement, and defense of internet network systems, research methods and infrastructure for cyber experimentation modeling human behavior for cybersecurity and seeking novel approaches to analyze vulnerabilities in complex systems. The prevalence and interdependence of cybersecurity, networking, and social systems inform her group's research and development agenda as the field adapts to the changes in cyberspace today and in the future.

Prior to joining ISI, Benzel served as a division vice president at Network Associates, Inc. (McAfee). She led the advanced research organization, comprising 125 individuals, primarily focused on R&D projects for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and other federal entities.

Benzel has twice testified before the US House of Representatives Committee on Science about the importance of investing in cybersecurity research and its infrastructure. She serves as an advisor to government and industry on R&D strategy and roadmap development. Benzel holds a joint appointment at USC’s Marshall School of Business where she is a researcher at the Institute for Critical Information Infrastructure Protection.

Research Summary

My main area of research is experimental cybersecurity. I lead research teams in creating advanced open infrastructure, methods, and widely available tools for cybersecurity experimentation. I oversee the design, development, promulgation, and operation of testbeds for cybersecurity experimentation and evaluation. Since 2004 I have been the principal investigator for the DETER Cybersecurity Testbed.  The DeterLab Cybersecurity Experimentation Testbed is a public resource that currently serves more than 1,000 researchers from 46 countries. It has also been extensively used for cybersecurity education and has impacted over 20,000 students.  Numerous publications, Master’s projects, and PhDs resulted from the use of DeterLab which has been operating since 2004 and is continuously undergoing hardware and software modernization to increase its capacity and experimental capabilities.


IEEE Computer Society Golden Core Member, 2022
IEEE Security and Privacy Magazine: AEIC Outstanding Service Award
US Department of Homeland Security Cyber is a Team Sport Award
USC Information Sciences Institute Achievement Award
IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Security and Privacy Computer Society Recognition for Outstanding Community Service
IEEE Computer Society Award for Continuing Service