Events , Governance & Risk Management , Incident & Breach Response

RSA 2015: Ripped from the Headlines

Previewing the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco
RSA 2015: Ripped from the Headlines
RSA Conference attendees await the opening of the expo floor.

The upcoming RSA Conference 2015 in San Francisco will feature sessions ripped from the headlines: The Terrorist's Son; Protecting Our Youth from the Wolves of Cyberspace; The Islamic State and Social Media; and Renewing the Patriot Act, to name a few.

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As RSA Conference program chair Hugh Thompson notes in an interview with Information Security Media Group, the show reflects the news of the day, as security leaders and vendors discuss the impact of recent breaches. "Unfortunately, we've had this continuing series of high-profile attacks, and they haven't just been attacks against data," he says. "We're seeing a lot of different actors enter the mix: folks that are attacking for political reasons, nation-states that are attacking for intellectual property."

Thompson expects more than 30,000 attendees at the conference, to be held April 20 to 24 at the Moscone Center. A featured keynoter will be newsmaker Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, who'll address the evolving cybersecurity threat and Homeland Security's comprehensive strategy to address it (10:40 a.m. Tuesday, April 21).

Another headline grabber who'll present at the conference is the controversial former director of the National Security Agency, retired Army Gen. Keith Alexander, who'll discuss life after the NSA (10:10 a.m. Friday, April 24).

Cryptography Debate

One of the conference's most popular annual keynote sessions is the Cryptographers' Panel. This year, it will be moderated by Paul Kocher, president and chief scientist at Cryptography Research (9:50 a.m. Tuesday, April 21). Kocher will be joined by Adi Shami of Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science, Ed Giorgio of Ponte Technologies, Ronald Rivest of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Whitfield Diffie of Cryptomathic. They'll discuss the latest advances cryptography and encryption, including research areas to watch in 2015.

Enterprises trust (or lack thereof) of cloud computing services is another concern found in today's headlines. Scott Charney, Microsoft corporate vice president for trustworthy computing, will speak in his keynote address about how businesses and government can build trust with their cloud providers (8:50 a.m. Tuesday, April 21).

Security's Radical Transformation

Another keynoter, RSA's new president, Amit Yoran, says the 2015 conference comes at a time of "radical transformation" in business, government and society. "The state of information security is at what I would characterize as a tremendous imbalance," Yoran says in an interview with ISMG. "Organizations that are investing a lot of dollars in information security don't really understand the threat environment. They don't really understand the requirements of what they need to do to better protect themselves; and they don't have a strategy for getting that done."

As usual, the conference will feature sessions devoted to specific business sectors. Among those focused on financial services are Riding the Wave of the Digital Bank: A Security Perspective (3:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 21) and Inconvenient Security: When Attorneys Drive Security Decisions, which explores financial services organizations being increasingly sued for fraud (8 a.m. Wednesday, April 22).

Sessions devoted to healthcare include Emergent Privacy Models in Healthcare (4:40 p.m. Tuesday, April 21); Healthcare Case Study: Beating Cybercrime, Nation-States and Insider Threats (10:20 a.m., Wednesday, April 22); Lock Your Front Door: Protecting Patient Portals (11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 23); and Next Generation Healthcare Security (9 a.m. Friday, April 24).

On the opening day of the conference, Monday, April 20, half-day seminars will be held on topics such as secure cloud adoption, security basics, trusting new technologies and engineering privacy. Also Monday, will be the Innovation Sandbox contest, a competition to encourage out-of-the-box information security offerings.

Besides all the educational sessions, 400-plus exhibitors will present their wares and services in the Moscone Center's mammoth expo floors.

How Do You Prepare?

Looking for advice on how to prepare for attending such a large conference? RSA offers advice in three blogs: Prepping for RSA Conference 2015, Your Plan of Attack and Your First RSA Conference.

The security research and advisory firm Securosis has for years published a guide to the conference, with this year's version posted on the RSA Conference website. It notes: "The RSA Conference is the single biggest event in our industry. Love it or hate it, there isn't a better place to put your thumb on the security industry and get a sense of where things have been, and where they are headed. But navigating such a large event and filtering out all the BS only gets harder as the event continues to grow."

ISMG: RSA's Diamond Media Sponsor

Information Security Media Group, the only Diamond Media Sponsor, invites attendees to stop by its booth on the expo floor (#4042) to meet its executive team and editors, who'll be conducting video interviews with leaders and influencers in information security, risk management and privacy.

On Wednesday, from 10:20 to 11:10 a.m., Tom Field, ISMG vice president for editorial, and Mathew Schwartz, executive editor/Europe, will present Breach 360: How Top Attacks Impact Tomorrow's Laws, Litigation, Security. The session, to be held in the Viewing Point at Gateway Room in the Moscone Center's South Hall, will address the evolution of new breach laws and litigation in 2015, latest attack targets and techniques and next-generation security controls.

ISMG will provide frequent news updates from the show, including video and audio interviews, news stories and more on its RSA Conference 2015 events page.

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Hear from more industry influencers, earn CPE credits, and network with leaders of technology at our global events. Learn more at our Fraud & Breach Prevention Events site.

About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Retired Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Chabrow, who retired at the end of 2017, hosted and produced the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversaw ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.

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