RSA Conference 2002 Grand Opening
by Mirko Zorz - Tuesday, 8 October 2002.

The first day of the RSA Conference is behind us. As we mentioned earlier, Monday was tutorial day and was divided into two areas: developer and enterprise tutorials. The attendance of the first day was satisfying, but as the conference wasn't oficialy opened, people started checking in today. Today the conference started with a grand opening and keynote by Art Coviello, RSA Security CEO and President.

He started by speaking about the new developments in e-security during this year. The conclusions were the following:
  • There was too much talk, not much action
  • Studies have shown that an alarming number of network managers doesn't employ patches
  • Companies are not allocating enough resources for information security related problems
  • We shouldn't wait for cyberterrorists to act, we should react now.
Moving on, Mr. Coviello talked about government news. Interesting points include the following:

  • During this year there's been an increased push to use identity cards and smart cards by various governments
  • A new e-government and digital signature legislation has been approved, digital IDs are now being distributed to citizens
  • There's an estimate that by the end of 2006 40 million people will have digital ID's
  • Russian president Vladimir Putin's new web site unsuccessfully attacked
  • The UK government was accused of illegaly hacking into BBC for influencing the news.
The speech went on to focus on hacks and attacks. Mr. Coviello mentioned the increasing problem of computer viruses and mentioned the Slapper worm and Bugbear, both heavily present in the media recently. Hack attacks are on the increase, as always. Also mentioned were the insecurity of the wireless networks, the drive-by hackers, war chalkers and war spammers.

This topic couldn't be concluded without a bit about hacker arrests and convictions:
  • Six italian boys defaced websites during G8 meetings. The CEO said this about the incident: "Ironically they used global internet to accomplish this"
  • The 14 italian hackers that damaged NASA, US Army and Navy systems are facing 8 years in prison. Some of these hackers were security consultants
  • The punishment for virus authors should be bigger. For example, the Kournikova virus author got only 150 hours of social work. The CEO said ironically: "His mother made him go to bed early for couple of days" :)
"We still have a lot of work" is Art Coviello's message. The threat is no longer just internal, disgruntled employees are a growing threat. 2002 is set to become the worst year for digital attacks: 80% of the attacks come from 10 countries, utilities are the number one target.


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