Yesterday, DataSolutions held their third annual Secure Computing forum which is the largest annual event dedicated to computer security in Ireland. The forum held in the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield examined the rise of cyberwarfare and how third platform threats such as cloud computing and social networking expose businesses.

Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain was the MC for the forum and she also did a great job chairing the various Q&A’s held throughout the day. Francis O’Haire the Technology & Strategy Director of DataSolutions, started of the conference stating “Here in Ireland we have digital ties to many of the largest global organisations and cannot assume we are safe from attack!.” Francis also introduced the two topics being covered at the conference ‘Cyber War – Hype or Reality’ and ‘Security and the Third Platform – The Genie is out of the bottle and it has your data!’

You might be wondering what the Third Platform is and is it something we already use? The answer to that question is yes as it is a standard description of our modern digital world, including such trends as social networking, mobile device proliferation, cloud computing, the internet of things and big data. This has also become more of a talking point since the rise of BYOD which was also mentioned.

The 9 speakers at the conference were Professor Ross Anderson, Ian Porteous, Freddy Dezeure, Dr Bob Griffin, Jeffrey A. Moulton, Davi Ottenheimer, James Hanlon, Nimrod Luria and Aral Balkan, Each of the speakers had their own unique spin on the two topics that were covered and it was great not to have any sales pitches masquerading as a security presentation/talk.

One of the speakers James Hanlon from Symantec spoke about what they have seen in the past year, which you can see below.


Professor Ross Anderson described how security engineers are now starting to work with psychologists, behavioural economists, anthropologists and even philosophers to develop new approaches to risk, fraud and deception. He also mentioned an eye opening fact when he mentioned the number of deaths in hospitals that were preventable. A lot of this is down to the machines used to give you your drug dosage. The machines are designed by people who do not work in the medical field and this makes their usability bad. In fact one manufacturer makes a range of different machines that does not have the same interface and on a busy day on the ward, nurses moving from machine to machine can give out the wrong dosage to patients. If you count the number of CPU’s in an average hospital room, it looks like a 1950’s airplane cockpit. In Professor Anderson’s view people are the weakest link.

One of the most entertaining talks of the day was by Aral Balkan who spoke about surveillance and that if it is not scary we do not worry too much about it. He also gave a longer version of his talk earlier this year at a conference in Berlin which you can see below, and be warned your views on Facebook and Google will change.

Orla Cleary & Wedyan Alharbi students who are doing MSc in Marketing Practice at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, revealed the results of the survey commissioned by DataSolutions. The survey was commissioned to identify unsecure practices in terms of employee’s use of personal devices, cloud services and social media in the workplace and the implications for Irish Businesses’ IT Security. You can the results of the survey plus more insights from the conference including future cyber careers in DataSolutions Forum Part 2 which you can read next Monday.

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