Those unable to attend the annual RSA conference in San Francisco during the week of April 21st can mimic the event’s effect by seeking out the scariest sci-fi movie in their collection and watching it with the lights out. It will be remembered as a week of doom and gloom as representatives from the digital security industry exchanged war stories of breaches and imminent threats like shell-shocked veterans. 2014 was a year that saw an unprecedented number of cyber security failures, and the mood was reportedly palpable in the hallways of the Moscone Centre.
New President Admits Defeat
In his first keynote address as president of RSA during the opening day of the conference, Amit Yoran kicked off his speech by literally stumbling around in the dark. He then compared security alerts to bumps in the night, explaining that the speed of technology is moving at an unprecedented rate, and that the security industry is not prepared. “The largest enterprises with the most sophisticated next-generation security tools weren’t able to stop the miscreants from breaking in,” he said, “2014 was a reminder that we are losing this contest.” You can view his keynote address in its entirety here.
The Internet of Things Brings with it New Challenges
Gib Sorebo, chief cyber-security technologist at Leidos, warned that the number of everyday devices that are now being assigned their own IP address will bring a slew of new security challenges. Such devices are tracking an unprecedented amount of user information, and without the right security infrastructure, the fear of unintended consequences is growing. One way to avoid potential disaster, Sorebo explained, is to ensure that experts retain vital knowledge, as opposed to relying on software. “With engineers retiring at rapid rates in utility industries… we won’t have people that understand the basics behind it,” he said. “They will know how to enter into a computer program and do this or that, but they may not understand how things are put together and what to do if there’s a problem.”
Cybersecurity is reaching a pivotal moment. Attacks are becoming more frequent and damaging, but so is the vigilance and awareness of everyday users. The RSA 2015 conference served as an opportunity to admit the failures of the last 12 months, and assess of the best way forward. While there was much talk of doom and gloom there were also moments of hope and excitement, as the world begins to prioritize cybersecurity in a way that it hadn’t previously.