February 24, 2017

This year’s RSA Conference welcomed over 1,300 of the world’s leading security experts to discuss global governance, the latest trends in technology, the threat landscape, security innovations and best practices to help organizations address the new frontiers in security.

Keynotes included a who’s who of security including Dr. Zulfikar Ramzan, Chief Technology Officer, RSA; Brad Smith, President, Microsoft; Matt Moynahan, Chief Executive Officer, Forcepoint; Christopher D. Young, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Intel Security; and The Cryptographers’ Panel moderated by Paul Kocher, President and Chief Scientist, Cryptography Research division of Rambus. Representing the U.S. government this year was The Honorable Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Congressman McCaul presented on how Washington must accept a sobering reality: we are losing on the cyber-battlefield and face a bleak threat landscape.

Dr. Hugh Thompson, Chief Technology Officer of Symantec, explored the evolution of other disciplines and discovered what our industry can and must become to embrace the opportunities of today and get ahead of the attacks of tomorrow.  Gideon Lewis-Kraus, author of “The Great A.I. Awakening” interviewed Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Alphabet Inc.  Also, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson explored everyday news through his astrophysicist lens.

CIO Dive rounded up the best 5 booths at the conference.
RSA was noted as having the flashiest with a full coffee car; Bromium as clever, channeling “Breaking Bad”; and HP’s including interactive games of all kinds. Zscaler had a fun booth allowing tension relief by destroying hard drives. Lastly, Malwarebytes had a gigantic robo mascot. Read more about the booths here.

Topics of note include advancements in machine learning and impact of IoT.

Watson meets cybersecurity. IBM was already offering Watson for cybersecurity but sales were limited to large government intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Last week, IBM announced a version of Watson that is tightly integrated with QRadar, opening cognitive computing capabilities. Watson for QRadar is very different from lots of the machine learning algorithm topics being discussed at RSA. Rather than artificial intelligence, Watson for QRadar is designed to emulate the behavior of threat analysts by supplementing internal security alerts and events with exhaustive searches of threat intelligence, social networking sites, blogs, etc. Watson for QRadar is especially timely given the global cybersecurity skills shortage.

Right before RSA, Sophos announced Invincea acquisition – using machine learning to change the battle against malware.

Brad Smith, President of Microsoft, stressed the impact of cybercrime on governments today. Smith claims that what’s needed to protect civilians in times of peace is a commitment from nations to a “Digital Geneva Convention,” and the creation of an International Atomic Energy Agency-like organization to police nation-state hacking.

Christopher Young, SVP and GM at Intel, echoed Smith saying that with a growing attack surface there’s increasing need for security to ensure that the IoT does not become the Internet of Terrorism.