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What to Expect at This Year’s RSA Conference

Posted by Nate Buell   |   February 27, 2012

It’s finally here! The week everyone in the infosec community waits for all year long. The RSA Conference! (And no, we’re not just talking about all of the great parties and chances to catch up with old friends, colleagues and peers – though we’re looking forward to that too!) The CounterTack team has assembled in San Francisco and is hard at work putting the final touches on booth #845 – where we’ll soon unveil the industry’s first and only commercially available security platform powered by virtual machine introspection to combat in-progress cyber attacks. Sound interesting? Come check it out live during Expo hours and while you’re there, enter to win a Vespa scooter or cash prize.

As we count down the hours until the official RSA kick-off, here’s a preview of what conference attendees can expect this year -- from major show themes to some can’t-miss panel discussions.

We recently caught RSA’s pre-conference teleconference with several security analysts who’ll have a strong presence at this year’s show – John Kindervag of Forrester Research, Andrew Hay of 451 Research and Pete Lindstrom of Spire Security. The three-person panel discussed the surge of high-profile breaches seen over the past 12 months, as well as the rise of headline-grabbing “hacktivists” targeting business and government agencies who they believe are profiting from global movements, such as the massive Occupy Wall Street. Traditional, perimeter-focused defenses and “trust models” are completely inadequate, said the panel, in protecting against today’s advanced, highly targeted attacks. Now is the time for a new approach. These experts agree we’ll see even more high-profile breaches in the year ahead – along with some other top-of-mind concerns that will rock the industry.  

Not surprisingly, mobile security was the most submitted speaking topic for this year’s conference. The proliferation of mobile devices entering the enterprise workforce is creating massive new challenges for security professionals. As these mini-computers evolve, cyber adversaries continue to refine their tactics, techniques and procedures to compromise consumers’ shiny new smartphones and tablets. These devices are not just another data storage platform – they are an extension of the user’s physical persona, capable of tracking location, covertly activating a microphone or camera and intercepting phone calls and SMS.

451 Group’s Andrew Hay said that until recently, most organizations haven’t done much to secure mobile devices in their network, as they’ve been mostly focused on securing their own end-points. That, he says, is going to change this year, as companies start to look at other sources of data exfiltration and mobile is “definitely one of the things.”

Looking for an interesting mobile security panel to attend this week? Don’t miss CounterTack’s Dmitri Alperovitch host one of RSA’s top rated panels Hacking Exposed: Mobile RAT Edition on Wednesday, where he’ll discuss the next wave of mobile attacks, outline real life investigations and demonstrate the latest in Mobile RAT technologies.

Big Data will be another hot theme at this year’s show. It’s the latest buzzword to hit the industry and organizations are rushing to create massive repositories of information to unleash the power ‘Big Data’ promises. But, the panel cautions, there is toxic data within these repositories, and we could be making it much easier for attackers to access a wealth of critical information. The real opportunity, the panel said, will be finding ways to leverage the power of Big Data to analyze security risks and drive new thought processes around threats and vulnerabilities.

Several panel discussions this week will examine what’s to come for the security industry. Constantly evolving, highly targeted threats are forcing us to re-address everything we once thought to be true about security. The question is no longer “Will I be breached?” Instead, it is a series of difficult-to-answer questions including, “Have I already been breached? Do I have an active threat inside my network right now? Where is it? What are they after?” And for this reality, many organizations are ill equipped. Where Will Infosec be in 2020? is sure to be a thought-provoking panel discussion led by Pete Lindstrom, and one we’re looking forward to.

What other topics have you excited about the week ahead? What discussions should everyone be sure to check out? Let us know on Twitter -- @CounterTack -- and come by booth #845 to continue the conversation. And be sure to check back regularly as we’ll be posting updates throughout the show. More soon!

Topics: Cyber Security, Network Security, RSA

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