The 2016 Kristian Beckman Award winner, Professor Bart Preneel, is one of three Keynotes engaged to speak at the upcoming 31st International IFIP Conference on ICT Systems Security and Privacy Protection (IFIP SEC 2016).

The flagship event of IFIP’s Technical Committee 11 on Security and Privacy Protection in Information Systems, IFIP SEC 2016 will bring together security experts, practitioners, researchers, industry stakeholders and government decision-makers from 30 May to 1 June 2016 in Ghent, Belgium, to hear international keynotes:

  • Professor Preneel of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven discuss “The Post-Snowden Threat Landscape”;
  • Daniel Le Métayer of Inria explore “The Risk-Based Approach to Privacy: Prospects and Challenges”; and
  • Professor Herbert Bos of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands address the topic, “Crazy Time: Exploiting Software without Bugs”.

At IFIP SEC 2016, Professor Preneel will officially receive his prize as this year’s recipient of the prestigious Kristian Beckman Award, which recognises an individual who has significantly contributed to the development of information security, particularly at an international level.

In addition to his work at KU Leuven, Professor Preneel heads the COSIC research group, has been visiting professor at five European universities, has invented five patents and authored over 400 scientific publications. He has participated in about 40 EU projects, seven as coordinator, and been invited speaker at more than 120 conferences in 40 countries.

Professor Preneel says the Snowden papers revealed not only that communications are insecure and can be eavesdropped, but that intelligence agencies actively hack systems and engage in mass surveillance to pursue their objectives.

“Since the Snowden revelations, little has been done to improve the accountability of government agencies, but we know there are many criminal groups and nation states that are seeking to understand these techniques and use them for their own benefit,” he said.

“As the world become more and more dependent on technology, the risks associated with hacks and surveillance techniques can only increase.”

Professor Preneel believes, in light of so much evidence that systems are less secure than previously believed, that we should stop centralising data and use other techniques to integrate data as needed for specific projects.

“Data should be stored locally. We have evolved to mass data for efficiency and convenience but we’re not able to protect it. It gives rise to very interesting research problems as in how to reengineer those systems and build them differently.”

Preneel also said he worries that we are moving in the wrong direction when it comes to privacy.

“I’m a big advocate of transparency, but today big organisations are not transparent; users are transparent. It should be the other way around. We need organisations to be open in their dealings with the community while the privacy of individuals should be protected.”

For more information about IFIP SEC 2016, visit http://ifipsec.org/2016/index.php

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