Tag Archives: RANTConference

Q&A with Ed Gibson, speaker and panellist at tomorrow’s RANT Conference

Can we have a sneak preview of what you’ll be talking about at the panel discussions?
I think provocative would be the word. All of us have attended conferences; we hear from the same people about the same things. Each panel member has so much experience that it will not be the same discussions about how we can boil the ocean and make the world a safer place.

It will be about things we can all do. One of the major problems is that people attend conferences and leave saying, ‘the world is falling apart – what can I do about it?’. We want to leave the audience with an idea of one thing they can do when they get home to help make their own environment more secure.

That sounds a bit different from the usual fear, uncertainty and doubt that you get from many conferences. This sounds much more practical.
Yes, and you often hear about how it must be the Chinese or North Koreans that are stealing all out IP… Well, maybe they are contributors but I think we need to get our minds set toward being more open. If we focus on one or two particular countries we are going down the wrong track. I think that will draw a fair bit of discussion.

Any time we deal with something we are not entirely familiar with there is a fear factor built in. If that’s not handled properly we can drive ourselves into a death spiral. I’m not sure we should be doing that. Yes, there are people out there who can exploit technology for the purposes of whoever they are acting on behalf of, but I’m not sure that’s different from other industries. And I think there are more people out there who want to make things better than want to destroy them. There are people out there with thoughts other than doom and gloom.

I think every day there are people making things better – whether that’s through law enforcement, security services or a combination of commerce and government agencies working together or informal CISO to CISO level at businesses.

You have held a number of fascinating roles in the security industry, working with the likes of Microsoft and the FBI over a long career. How has the industry changed over that time?
Sometimes I have to smile at what’s happened. I was talking about these things back in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Anyone who had some foresight back in 2000 into the security problems that could and indeed have developed was extremely frustrated because no one wanted to listen; we as consumers demanded that things just worked.

So in conclusion, what do you hope attendees will get out of the RANT conference?
You have to question why you really want to attend a security conference. There are hundreds of stands of people selling their security technology, how do you make a decision as to what security product is best for your environment? If so, how do you make that determination? Networking? Seeing what others are buying? The same way I buy wine – cheap and with a nice label?

I think what the organisers have done is a pretty spectacular thing; they’ve developed a forum that enables and facilitates different thoughts – maybe those thoughts that people want to say but haven’t said in public. Here’s an opportunity like no other to change our thought process and perception and understanding and maybe walk away with a different and more truthful understanding of what’s happening in the world.

Next week’s RANT Conference attracting some of the IT industry’s biggest names

IT professionals from around the country are currently preparing for this month’s RANT Conference, which is now merely days away from taking place.

The Risk and Network Threat Forum (RANT) Conference has been run by Acumin since 2007 and this month’s event is being held in St Paul’s London, in the heart of the UK’s IT industry.

Every month a new speaker attends the conference to start a rant about a hot topic within the IT sector. Of course this is not just a one way conversation and the audience is actively encouraged to interact and pitch in with their own points of view, opinions and suggestions in what is a relaxed and informal atmosphere.

Tuesday (June 11th) will see many top industry professionals take to the stage to engage with an audience that is growing month-by-month. Well known speakers Stephen Bonner of KPMG and Mark Stevenson of Futurologist will be there to talk about some of the biggest issues the sector is currently trying to tackle.

Naturally, there is so much to go through considering the changes occurring in the industry and this month’s agenda is simply massive and there will be plenty to talk about both at the presentations and in the pub afterwards with the infosec community.

Bring your own device will feature heavily in the conference and all advantages and disadvantages will be explored. Mobile device management, secure outsourcing and the major threats currently facing cyber security will also all be discussed.

The RANT Conference is designed for passionate information security managers, directors, chief information security officers and other senior information security and risk professionals who work within end user organisations.

A short teaser video for the RANT Conference has been devised and can be viewed here. It was made by Twist & Shout Media – @twistandshoutUK on Twitter if you’d like to give them a follow – the team behind restrictedintelligence.co.uk.

Next week’s RANT Conference is going to be huge and there are set to be 60-80 ranters in attendance. Places are going fast so professionals are urged to register ASAP to secure their place.

Q&A with Alan Edwards, Integralis

Integralis recently released the results of a survey into online data protection and trust. What was the key takeaway figure from that research? (http://integralis.com/en/about-integralis/integralis-in-the-news/nid-00241/one-in-four-customers-admit-they-do-not-trust-companies-to-secure-their-personal-information-online/)
If you look at organisations today, many will have implemented a security strategy based on perimeter defence. The principal is simple, build a wall high enough to keep the bad guys out, and control the resources (people, processes and technology) that operate inside the firewall (perimeter).

However, many businesses have consumers who are connected to them in order to do business, which calls into question the original idea of the ‘perimeter’ or at least raises the question of where the perimeter now is. If I’m connected to my bank I am part of their network, and unknowingly have as much potential to introduce risks onto the bank network as one of their employees. My interaction with the bank could, inadvertently, create a problem for the bank in the same way that an employee could.

Maybe it’s time for organisations to consider the fact that the perimeter has gone and to treat customers who connect to them in the same way as they treat their staff, in terms of education  and making them  aware of the risks.

Banks seemed to do well in terms of trust online, with 63% of respondents trusting their bank with online transactions. Why do you think that is?
Despite what has happened recently, banks have historically been trusted and, in an online sense, banks do better at educating their customers. In my experience banks lead the way in communicating with customers in terms of which attacks they may be vulnerable to. They are also good at educating customers in what they can do to protect themselves, which in turn helps protect the bank from risks borne by online users.

Banks have also been proactive in terms of security measures like two factor authentication. That seems to be a conscious decision from the banks, who see their customers are part of their network and are therefore extending this level of authentication to them too.

Social networks came out bottom in terms of trust online – but that lack of trust doesn’t seem to stop people from using them.
Social networks top the overall usage charts, but rank bottom in terms of trust. It seems that in the online world people behave totally differently, and convenience overweighs any risks.

Turning to the RANT conference – these stats should worry attendees, if the vast majority of people simply don’t trust online businesses with their data.
The message to attendees is about how you start to bring trust into your risk or information security strategy. If the focus is just on the perimeter and not on the access consumers have to the network, then it is likely that your data is at greater risk, and that your users don’t trust you as much as you perhaps would like.

What is the message Integralis wants to deliver to the event?
The title of the discussion we’re running is ‘In banks we trust and in trust we bank’. Our message to CISOs is to start considering your customers as part of your network, and educate them and provide the tools to protect themselves just as you would with staff. In this way not only will your business be more secure, but your customers may even start to invest their trust – which must be worthwhile.

 

 

Q&A with Stephen Bonner, speaker and panelist – RANT Conference

Let’s start by hearing a sneak preview of the talk you’ll be giving at RANT?
It will be on the subject of cyber war. The way some people talk about it annoys me, so that makes me passionate. It annoys me when people use phrases like “Digital Pearl Harbour” and compare the proliferation of cyber weapons with nuclear weapons. The way we overegg some of the threats, and make them sound like significant problems when they are not that important at all, does us no favours. I think we’d be better off being more realistic about the threats and benefits.

I’ll be saying that what’s happening now isn’t war and draw some parallels between what war is and isn’t like. But I’ll also talk about what it would look like if we did have a cyber war. I don’t think cyber war is impossible or all made up but I think the use of the phrase is wrong.

Using the word “war” and describing what’s happening now in that way normalises war, which I think is a terrible thing. Cyber war is only likely if we keep making it more and more normal.

And what about the panel you’ll be part of?
I hope that will be a little more light-hearted! The other talk is more about “You’re all doing it wrong, stop it,” and this is a bit more humorous. We’ve assembled a panel of people that have never sought to be security rock stars, but given them a platform to discuss how they became security rock stars and what the benefits are. They will also be offering advice to aspiring security rock stars! It’s firmly tongue-in-cheek, though.

With such an experienced panel the audience will be hanging on your every word. What’s the message you want them to take away from that and your talk?
To enjoy it would be my advice. With my talk, it’s very much about getting people to stand up and challenge people who throw around terrifying expression when they don’t match. It’s also about changing the message around cyber war and getting people to think about the definition of war, the Geneva Convention and so on. I think people perhaps aren’t properly preparing: people should be working harder to make war less likely and also working to reduce the consequences of it.

If phrases such as cyber war and Digital Pearl Harbour are wrong, what should we be calling it?
It’s just crime and theft. It’s still bad and can damage organisations and people, but it’s a crime, not war. And the proper response to crime is law enforcement, not intelligence agencies and the military. The more we position simple crimes as military actions the more comfortable people will be with taking military action.

I’m going to talk a bit about the features we see at the very high end in terms of espionage work and compare that to war. There are not very many stealth wars; once you’ve invaded you have to stand up and say hello. Mostly what we’re seeing is crime with a bit of espionage thrown in. A denial of service (DoS) is not war, it’s a protest, a riot. You stop protests and riots by arresting and prosecuting people, not by cluster bombing. There is a line and we need to be very clear about it.

You have been involved with The RANT Events for many years now. What do you think sets it apart from other security events?
It has an authenticity; it’s people talking about what they are passionate about rather than what they are told to be passionate about. There is an element of truth to the event; it’s a way to cut through some of the hype that can dominate the security industry. There are no keynotes where a DLP vendor tells you how important DLP is, or an antivirus vendor telling you how important that is.

RANT feels very much like a community, with people engaging and being honest about the things they like and dislike. I think that’s powerful and an important step towards being a more mature industry.

Register for the RANT Conference – http://www.rantconference.co.uk/register/