Infosec 2013: Why this year's event is more important than ever

When an event as large and established on the IT calendar as Infosec comes around, it’s always likely to take up some healthy column inches in the tech press, but the state of Internet security at the moment throws more significance than usual on this year’s three-day showpiece in London.

Infosecurity Europe 2013, to give its full title, kicks off at Earls Court on Tuesday 23 April, and arrives at a time when cyber security has scarcely ever featured so prominently among technology - and indeed mainstream – news headlines. On one of ITProPortal’s last outings at a major security event it already felt like matters were coming to a head, as RSA Europe became dominated by talk of escalating international conflict online and the very ownership of the Internet itself, with the UN’s ITU conference on Internet regulation looming large at the time.

But if security commentators were expecting some kind of accord to settle the tempestuous cyber sphere at the UN conference which followed in December, they were to be mistaken. With the US and UK heading up an alliance against any regulation of the Internet, the likes of Russia and China striving for expanded state controls, and the UN accused of launching a power-grab rather than simply overseeing the event, delegations clashed in Dubai and little was resolved. The US and UK did not even sign the ITU’s final proposal.

This lack of harmony has seen cyber tensions continue to bubble over in 2013, including frequent hacking allegations being exchanged between the US and China, and North Korea allying confrontational rhetoric with powerful cyber attacks on its South Korean neighbours. The US and UK have both responded with notable courses of action to safeguard their digital infrastructures - the White House increasing spend on cyber weapons and granting President Obama the license to launch cyber attacks if necessary, and the UK government launching a spree of initiatives ranging from online safety education programmes to cross-sector cyber security alliances.

With so much activity unfolding in the security world and its wider implications becoming more significant than ever, the light shines brightly on the engineers, researchers, experts and company executives assembling at Infosec this week. These are the ones providing countries with the insight and technology to shore up the cyber sphere, and, more directly for most attending Infosec, the ones who promise to protect their business. The digital sparring between powerful countries and their most adept hackers is eroding the layers of protection around these businesses, putting huge emphasis on the support network brought together at Infosec.

Cyber attacks from all levels put companies under threat, from the aforementioned state-sponsored assaults which mine for data and seek to disrupt key services, to rogue fraudsters looking to make a fast buck from phishing attacks on unsuspecting employees. Just last week, Israeli firm Seculert uncovered a strand of malware that has gone undetected for almost a year, infecting “thousands” of organisations to put their data and money at risk. Increasingly covert and sophisticated threats like this continue to proliferate, now making a company’s security policy crucial to its existence. Those milling the aisles and filling the keynote halls at Earls Court will be digging for the deepest insight and most powerful technology to make their own organisation’s policy the best it can be.

Guests will be descending on London from far and wide to offer their knowledge and wares, with Infosec promising 70 vendors from outside the UK, helping to attract an estimated 12,000 unique visitors over the course of the week. Internet security is anything but a closed shop these days, as demonstrated by the list of key speakers which includes representatives from News International, Santander, Channel 4, the Met Police, MoD, and Bank of America, as well as the spokespeople from groups more commonly associated with the security world.

ITProPortal will be tearing through the venue to gather the breaking news stories and key talking points, also ready to meet the likes of Kaspersky, which provided one of the biggest security stories of the year by discovering Red October; Bitdefender, responsible for the best AV solution on the market according to independent testers; BlackBerry, bent on regaining enterprise dominance through its security-friendly BES 10, and a wealth of other companies and individuals looking to make their mark on this year’s event.

World affairs have put the IT security industry firmly in the spotlight, with experts in demand, vendors’ business booming, and organisations taking their digital safety more seriously than ever before. The stage is well set for Infosec 2013, stay here for all the action.