Connect to Protect: A Few Highlights from the RSA Conference 2016 1

The theme of the RSA Conference 2016 is “Connect to Protect.” According to RSA, “One of the major drivers of the evolution of technology has been our desire to connect with new people and new ideas.” This year’s theme also resonates really well with the RTI’s mission and values, so it inspired me to attend. In this blog post I still would like to offer a few of my personal impressions of the conference. Because I had attended the conference many times before joining RTI, my perspective may be a little biased, but I will try to be as objective as I can.

The Most Inspiring Thing: Kids Cyber Safety  Expo Hall

One of the most important things for me, as a security professional of many years, was to see a large exhibit dedicated to the cyber safety of kids and teens.

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There was an interesting mix of non-profits and commercial exhibitors there with great technical innovations and educational content regarding cybersecurity and young people.

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It was good to see the esteemed RSA Conference getting behind this noble effort and giving it special attention…

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I truly hope it will help build public awareness and attract investment to this much needed area of security. The effort is long overdue. Good job, RSA!

The Most Controversial Thing: A Roundtable with Three Cyber-Wiseman

Cybersecurity was the dominating theme for the conference this year. The session featured three sought-after panelists: Alex Dewdney, Director, Cyber Security, CESG; Michael Daniel, Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator, The White House; and Dr. Tal Steinherz, CTO of the Israel National Cyber Bureau, Prime Minister’s Office. They explored some of the hottest issues facing us today and discussed ways Israel and the US government view and approach these challenges.

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Dr. Steinherz created some controversy by expressing his non-traditional views on the issues around cybersecurity policy-making and the effectiveness of current government programs. He thinks the most important issue for security professionals is protecting Industrial Control Systems (ICS) – the place where the cyber world meets the physical world. Dr. Steinherz believes that needed technology is available, but the lack of global collaboration is a real issue that needs to be resolved. “Sometimes you know who your adversary is but you cannot make them responsible for the harm because of the issues with the lack of global collaboration or international law enforcement.”
“Defining cybersecurity is the most difficult thing I’ve been dealing with in the last three years,” said Dr. Steinherz. “We should look at [cybersecurity government programs] like the brake system of an automobile. If we want to move fast, we should have the best break system we can get.”

The Most Innovative Thing on Expo Floor: Deep Learning Cybersecurity

On a related note, Israel definitely has an impressive number of cybersecurity startups, and they are highly visible on the Expo floor this year! Deep Instinct, the first company to apply deep learning to cybersecurity, emerged form stealth mode four months before the RSA show. They have their own booth at the conference, which is somewhat unusual for a player of such a small size (there are just 40 employees).

Deep Instinct was chosen by Venture Beat as one of the top five “deep learning” startups to follow in 2016. They are still very secretive about their technology, which promises unmatched accuracy in detecting even the most evasive zero-day threats and APT attacks in real-time, blocking them before any harm occurs. According to Deep Instincts, they are very busy with proof-of-concepts right now. Looking forward to seeing this young company making a name for themselves in the highly competitive security market and maybe even taking business away from some big players!

The Most Anticipated Thing: RTI Learning Lab

And last, but not least… On Wednesday we celebrated our debut at the RSA Conference as a team of presenters. Our fabulous facilitators, Rose, Hamed, and Gerardo, led a session on security in the IIoT. The name of the session was “Securing the Industrial Internet of Things: A Deep Dive into the Future.” It introduced participants to the Industrial Internet and its growing impact on Industrial Control Systems. The session was for an advanced audience. It was designed as a crash course on fundamentals of DDS security, followed by a progressive series of self-guided exercises on how to use Connext DDS Secure for medical application – specifically, for monitoring a patient’s vital signs and controlling medical devices.

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This lab was hugely popular. There was a long line to get in!

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The RSA Conference organizers went out of their way to accommodate as many people as they could, but some people still could not get in. Bummer!

But wait, here is the best part: if you could not attend RSA or missed our session, you can still download the session slides. Enjoy!

One comment

  1. Pingback: The First Smart Healthcare Testbed at the Industrial Internet Consortium « RTI Blog

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