Security Today Conference: A Gathering of Master Security Thinkers

Security Today Conference: A Gathering of Master Security Thinkers

I enjoy attending conferences, whether big or small, I always learn something new to add to my bank of knowledge, and the Security Today Conference at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas proved to be no different. For the past two days, I have immersed myself in conference bliss - listening to keynote speakers, visiting booths, sitting in on educational classes and interacting with others. Here’s a sampling of what I learned:

Did you know that Texas State Representative Jason Villalba wrote the first draft of the Texas Marshal Program on December 14th, the day of the Sandy Hook tragedy? He based it on the Federal Air Marshal Program’s concept of having a certified peace officer in common dress, as not to be identified, on an airplane who could only react in a time of emergency. In relation to schools, no one except the principal and school officials know who the marshal(s) are and these marshals have the responsibility and duty to act against active shooters or in any emergency that threatens the lives of students or teachers.

School marshals receive 80 hours of training, must get their CHL, go through a robust background check and participate in a thorough mental exam. Once completed, the marshal is allowed to have a firearm within a 15 second reach while on the school campus to eliminate life or death threats.

Villalba talked with schools across Texas and their response was that it is best to have armed guards at all entrances; however, the state can’t afford this, so the next best thing is the marshal program.

Do you know the lifecycle of a cyberattack? Shawn Riley, executive vice president of CSCSS (Centre for Strategic Cyberspace + Security Science), explains the 7 stages:

  1. Recon – Who to send malware to.
  2. Weaponize – Fill the attached document with malware to exploit.
  3. Deliver – Recipient opens attachment.
  4. Exploit – System becomes vulnerable.
  5. Control – Attack takes over the system.
  6. Execute – The malware attacks the system.
  7. Maintain – The malware maintains access to the system.

By analyzing a cyberattack and breaking it down into stages, it’s easier to understand what people do to attack and how to prevent future attacks.

Did you know that out of all school safety and security threats, an active shooter is least likely to occur? This is according to Catherine Toohey of the Texas School Safety Center, an official university-level research center at Texas State University, whose message was that schools need to be prepared and train for ALL possible emergency events including bullying, weather-related events, dating violence, etc.

Do you realize that our social security numbers are totally unprotected? George Gundling, CEO, SaaS Software, Inc. presented that the only way to prevent identity theft is to protect our social security numbers. He proposed the concept of an ID authentication system as the vaccine for ID theft.

“Technology is available, but it’s all in how it is used,” said Gundling.

The ID authentication system works in three steps:

Step 1: Verification – proving you are you.

Step 2: Authentication – connect biometric data to social security numbers.

Step 3: Registration – register all identifying information to social security number to prove ownership.

Did you know that your IT department may be an unknowing accomplice to cybercrime?

According to Mark Villinski of Kaspersky Labs, 300,000 to 325,000 new threats daily come into Kaspersky to be analyzed. Here’s how IT could be helping to bring in these threats:

  1. Social media mania – not protecting ALL social media accounts of company.
  2. Attention misdirection – focusing on protection only rather than detection and response of threats.
  3. Failing to foster a culture of awareness.
  4. Reliance on compliance – thinking employees are always compliant to policies that protect them as well as the company.

Do you realize that the U.S. spends approximately $10 billion per year to protect the nation’s digital infrastructure? No doubt that’s a costly amount, but if critical infrastructure, including banking, agriculture, water, dams, emergency services, information technology, energy, etc., had adequate security and protection, this dollar amount could significantly decrease.

Mario Castellanos, COO and EVP, CNIguard presented that the elements and components of security seem to overpower the “doing” of security, so our critical infrastructure is in danger of being breached. Therefore, security of critical infrastructure should cover the following to be effective:

Trespassing – harmless curiosity/conscious entry into critical infrastructure facilities.

Vandalism – graffiti, etc.

Property theft – equipment theft, etc.

Tampering and sabotage – intentional act that causes mass destruction of life and property.

About the Author

Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.

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