Computer Security Today: A Report From The Infosecurity Europe 2006 Press Conference

Infosecurity Europe 2006 is just around the corner. Taking place at the Olympia in London 25-27 April 2006, it is the most important gathering of security professionals in Europe.

At the press conference in London earlier this week, we were introduced to last year’s statistics as well as information about the 2006 conference with many presentations.

Last year’s conference was a big success, 10,874 people visited the show (audited number) and this year even more visitors are expected due to the fact that for the first time there are more than 300 exhibitors. If the show continues to grow like this every year, it will eventually have to switch venues since the Olympia in London can only offer so much.

What’s new in 2006

The themes announced for this year’s show are the ones you have been reading about in the news for the most part in the past few months: e-crime, identity theft, phishing, spyware, intrusion detection and prevention, wireless security, remote working, VoIP security, risk management and outsourcing.

Infosecurity Europe wants to enable companies to work together and they have a strong emphasis on B2B at the show. Exhibitors can use the “Channel Zone” section of the Infosecurity website to look for companies that are interesting in finding channel partners and can schedule meeting before the show in order to maximize the time at the show.

One of the news this year is the Microsoft Academy and Hands-On Lab that will enable visitors to try out various Microsoft technologies and learn something new. This comes as no surprise since Microsoft has been constantly slammed over the vulnerabilities in their products during the past year and they have to show that they take security seriously now more than ever.

The show will feature a myriad of excellent technical and business seminars. Titles like “Anatomy of a database attack” and “Exploring the Next Level of Cyber Attacks: Methodologies and Demonstrations of Web Application Hacks” are certainly to have people standing outside the hall because of the huge interest.

Once again Infosecurity proved itself as a strong brand. With 10 popular conferences around the world in 2005, they just announced an addition to their portfolio with Infosecurity India 2006, taking place in Bangalore in September. This is no surprise. It was only a matter of time before the outsourcing phenomenon makes India an interesting ground for a security show of Infosecurity’s size.

As always, Help Net Security is attending this year’s show so if you’re you interested in meeting with us do contact me.

The presentations

I had the pleasure of listening to more than 20 presentations by the representatives of some of today’s leading security companies. Some of the speakers are mentioned below while others are available with more information in separate articles:

Stephen Lewis, VP of Product Management at AEP Networks spoke about the changes to working practices and how they present new challenges to security specialists. Remote access is on the rise and it presents a whole new set of problems. The need for flexible working applications in general is high and new security improvements are needed.

Paul Galwas, Director of Product Management at nCipher talked about the importance of administration and user provisioning. We were introduced to a number of examples where data security made headlines. Mr. Galwas thinks there is a need for wider access but with tighter control, which is a critical balance to manage. It’s a critical and enterprise-wide issue to encrypt and therefore protect the integrity and confidentiality of data.

Andrew Lockhart, Senior Marketing Director at Postini, introduced their 2006 Message Security and Management Annual Report that provides a review of key electronic messaging statistics, events and trends for the 2005 calendar year from a worldwide perspective. What you realize when listening to this presentation is tha the virus problem is not something about what you can be complacent. An example of this comes from Postini that typically quarantines 50 million virus-infected messages per month. The Sober virus generated a 1500% increase in virus-infected traffic in just one week for them. Another big problem is IM security since attacks have increased by 1700% and if you’re wondering where most of the spam goes, it’s the US.

John Steward, CEO of Signify, differentiated his presentation from the rest of the companies by saying something you don’t hear at press conferences: “Not everyone needs this.” He didn’t emphasize compliance problems but rather focused on the users and the problems associated with implementing new technologies in an organization. A refreshing approach that makes you think about how an implementation affects your users.

Dr. Peter Berlich from the (ISC)2 European Advisory Board discussed the changing role of the security professional. (ISC)2 are the global leaders when it comes to certification and they have 40,000 certified individuals in 120 countries. Since security is becoming a top concern there naturally more need to certify your employees.

Trevor Dearing, Enterprise Voice Portfolio Specialist at Juniper Networks tackled the issue of VoIP security for the enterprise and the connected threats, issues and ramifications. According to Mr. Dearing, VoIP is a new challenge. More mobility and application integration mean more productivity but also new threats: external hacking and protocol attacks.