SINET ITSEF 2018: The current state of cybersecurity.
By The CyberWire Staff
Mar 8, 2018

SINET ITSEF 2018: The current state of cybersecurity.

SINET ITSEF takes as its mission "bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and the Beltway," convening leaders in technology, investment, government, and business to discuss challenges and opportunities in cybersecurity. Panels and workshops take up questions of immediate and enduring concern to the security industry and its stakeholders. 

The topics considered included the most serious emerging threats (including threats to industrial control systems), the use and management of several relatively new approaches to security (including deception, artificial intelligence, and bug bounties), the rise of information operations and their intersection with other security challenges, trade-offs in security investments, the future of cryptography, government and industry cybersecurity priorities, what the IoT botnets hold, the US Department of Defense's cybersecurity priorities, cyber resilience, investing in the next big things (artificial intelligence and the blockchain), national competition in cyberspace, data as the new endpoint, and risk models.

The conference was opened by LifeJourney CEO Rick Geritz, who introduced the program and offered an anecdote indicating how cybersecurity had arrived, culturally and in the business world. When the PGA is discussing golf balls, they now do so in cybersecurity terms: identity and authentication.

Geritz turned the podium over to SINET founder and CEO Robert Rodriguez, who opened with some reflections on the importance of culture, and a plea to the industry to engage in some self-reflection. He drew the conference's attention to something many of them will have seen, if not fully appreciated. It's growing harder for vendors to reach the CISO. There's too much noise, too much aggressive marketing. And much of that marketing is tone-deaf, and fails to correct itself because it's failed to listen to what's important to the CISOs. Thus they've inadvertently driven the CISOs to become "reclusive."

For example, he observed, at RSA, you don't find the CISOs on the floor any more. They're in hotel rooms, where they won't be bothered by "people in gorilla suits on roller skates." Rodriguez emphasized the importance of commitment to mission, of addressing significant issues of widespread concern. He closed with the hope that this sense of mission, of what he described as "a higher calling," would resonate with vendors, because the sector will thrive only with the growth of such understanding.