RSA Conference 2014 to feature discussions on NSA surveillance, DDoS attacks and Stephen Colbert: Gartner

The 2014 RSA Conference, one of the world’s leading industry events for the cybersecurity and cryptography sectors, is set to focus on recent attacks on US retailers, the National Security Agency and DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, according to a leading industry expert.

This year’s conference, which will run from February 24 to 28 at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco, is set to be hosted by US talk show host and comedian Stephen Colbert.

“Having a keynote who is one of the most influential people in both politics and the mainstream media will bring a different perspective to an issue that is now at the forefront of everyone’s minds. This year’s keynote presentation is guaranteed to be intelligent, lively and boisterous,” RSA Conferences general manager Alex Bender says.

According to Gartner vice president Avivah Litan, the security implications of recent attacks on US retail giant Target, concerns about US government surveillance programs and preventing DDoS attacks to be key focuses at the conference.

“Many of the speakers and vendors at the show will likely leverage the plethora of security infractions of the last year to create a sense of urgency for more intelligent solutions. I expect ‘intelligent analytics’ and ‘context aware security’ to be underlying themes.”

Litan says the emergence of mobile computing, social media, cloud computing and big data are fundamentally reshaping the landscape for cybersecurity.

“The convergence of social interaction, mobility, cloud, and information creates a much richer set of contextual information on identities. It enables real time analytics and business decision making around a lot of different components of identity information, so individuals can be serviced more effectively, and enterprises can become more profitable.

“But all of this also comes with security and privacy risks. I think we all face tremendous challenges on how to take advantage of the tidal waves of identity information and contextual data while respecting individual privacy and maintaining a secure environment.”

Finally, Litan says there are likely to be a number of key lessons for businesses from this year’s show.

“Enterprises need to lock down their forts as much as possible on the operational side – for example, enforcing strong, but risk based contextual authentication, making sure passwords are not shared across devices, whitelisting software that can run on endpoints, whitelisting the points to which sensitive information can be transferred to and more.”

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