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Eyes Opened at Cyber Threat Summit 2017

03 Nov 2017

Ian Donnelly

I attended the Cyber Threat Summit last week at the fantastic “Helix” on Dublin’s DCU campus. This event was a real eye opener. It kicked off with ICTTF president Paul C Dwyer. Paul is one of the world’s leading Cyber Security experts and he captured the audience with a very entertaining presentation giving an overview about how a small country like Ireland can play an integral part in the ongoing war with the “bad guys” in the IT world; hackers and criminals out to steal and disrupt. The ICTTF are a task force of professionals in cyber security that all have a common goal and believe you need a network to defeat a network. Then all of a sudden, an army of drummers banged their way down onto the stage. If people were not fully awake from Paul’s very entertaining presentation on how Bono could make the perfect CISO, this certainly shook things up. I have been to quite a few IT conferences over the years and have to say this was one of the best openings I have seen to date. Great job Paul.

As the day went on they had an array of very interesting talks and discussions. For example, Tony Sales did a very interesting talk on how he stole £30 million. A reformed fraudster, he gave a very revealing discussion about how he went from cheap scams to complex multi-million-pound rip offs using his street-smart knowledge and technical know-how to take retailers & financial institutions to the cleaners. He had a very strong case that companies can’t fully defend themselves and their systems unless they can see it through a criminal’s eyes. I couldn’t help make a comparison with the character Leonardo di Caprio played in “Catch me if you can”.

Throughout the various talks, I got a very good sense of IT security threats and what is required to protect yourself as much as possible. A consistent theme was if you fail to prepare you prepare to fail. It’s not about preventing threats to your business but more about how prepared you are to manage them when they do because they will continue to come and they will continue to evolve.

In between talks, I wandered around the various stalls from leading companies in the security this space. There are lots of new business being created to assist companies in minimising risk and it was great to see the energy filling the entire Helix building.

The closer it got to four o’clock, you could feel the excitement and anticipation in the air for the main event of the evening, a no holds barred interview with Edward Snowden. I thought it was a great way to cap off an already very successful event, and a great coup for the organisers. Everyone squeezed into the main theatre and the interview commenced. Edward streamed live from somewhere in Russia. You could hear a pin drop. It was a very well executed interview with interesting questions and intelligent well thought out and thought provoking responses. I was surprised to hear that he was looking to hide in Ireland at one stage!

All in all, a great event from start to finish. I caught up with many of my industry contacts on the day and came away with a tonne of very useful information to bring me right up to date with the many developments in the world of cyber security and the many opportunities that will continue to be provided for those people interested to work in this highly interesting and rapidly expanding sector.

For any further details on the event, or about current and future opportunities available within cyber security which may be of interest contact me on 01 662 1000 or email i.donnelly@brightwater.ie.