Cyber Defenders of the World Unite!

Melissa Hathaway

This week, RSA’s conference in California looks “ to drive the worldwide information security agenda,“ says conference general manager Sandra Toms LaPedis.

As instances of cyber attacks continue to grow more prevalent, cyber warriors and national security officials are gathering in California to examine methods to enhance cyber defenses. The RSA conference, held in San Francisco this week, includes a number of headline government speakers, like Secretary of DHS Janet Napolitano, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt and FBI Director Robert Mueller.

The conference also includes industry leaders like Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, Enrique Salem, President and CEO of Symantec and David DeWalt, President and CEO, McAfee Inc.

On Tuesday, Melissa Hathaway will discuss how to develop a strong and cohesive national cybersecurity plan that includes cooperation between the private sector and government.

The conference will examine issues like security in the cloud, enabling the use of social networking sites and ensuring safe remote access of business networks.

Sandra Toms LaPedis, Area Vice President and General Manager of RSA Conference, said “As cyber warfare, cloud security and protecting the enterprise in the face of consumerization and mobility emerge as new challenges for IT departments, our attendees rely on RSA Conference for practical insights and real-world answers to these issues.“

Some of the more prevalent issues presently facing cyber defenders will dominate the agenda, particularly cyber crime and cyber espionage. Most recently, the highly publicized Aurora attacks against search engine giant Google has brought the issue of cyber espionage into the public eye.

“Malware has become important as the sophistication of the attacks has increased. That is underscored by the Google Aurora attack,“ said Philippe Courtot, Chairman and CEO, Qualys Inc. “Now we know for a fact more than a hundred companies were compromised in very targeted attacks of industrial espionage.“

During the conference, FBI Director Mueller will discuss the variety of cyber threats currently arrayed against US interests, including cyber crime and how foreign government and terrorists exploit the Internet for nefarious purposes.

Schmidt will participate in a “town hall“ style discussion and Secretary Napolitano will discuss the impact that cyber threats have on society at large.

In a session titled  “ Dealing with Sophisticated Threats in Cyberspace without Creating Big Brother ,“ former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and former chief counterterrorism advisor to the NSC, Richard Clarke, will look at how the government can help to defend companies and citizens against cyber threats without eroding civil liberties or infringing on privacy rights.

The expanding use of mobile devices to access Internet services will also be a central discussion point at the conference.

“There are so many security topics high on the agenda. Certainly one of the topics is how mobile devices are becoming more like computers with the benefits and drawbacks as well,“ said Simon Bransfield-Garth, CEO of Cellcrypt, a voice security solutions provider.

The conference also includes a number of tutorials taught by the SANS Institute, a cybersecurity training center headquartered in Bethesda, MD.

The conference will likely include the release of new threat studies and new services and products catering to the cyber defense community.

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