IP EXPO 2013 highlights

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From the seminar booths to the exhibition floor, IP EXPO 2013 was an all-action affair with Earls Court 2 packed to the rafters for the two day IT extravaganza.

With notorious ex-hacker Kevin Mitnick kicking things off on Wednesday morning, attendees flocked to the keynote theatre to hear tales of hacking, cybercrime and law enforcement. Mitnick now uses his hacking skills to identify the weaknesses in clients’ security infrastructure as part of his work with Mitnick Security Consulting; so what key lesson has he learned from experience on both sides of the security fence?

"Antivirus software isn't going to save you, it's only 60 per cent effective," he stated, compounding the consensus that traditional AV is becoming increasingly antiquated. Mitnick’s speech went on to place great emphasis on the social engineering element of hacking, with users so often tricked into giving away personal information to seemingly legitimate sources.

Mitnick demonstrated some on the easiest ways hackers can exploit people through social engineering to gain access to their data - by simply getting them to open an emailed Word or PDF document. Both of Mitnick’s demo documents appeared as completely normal and safe to open, and even passed anantivirusscan. However, when opened, the Word document could steal usernames and passwords and the PDF installed a Trojan which could allow the computer to be taken over by the hacker, including switching on the webcam. Some of Mitnick’s insight was chilling.

Messages from the keynote halls were similarly grave later in the day, as David Chalmers, VP and Chief Technologist at HP claimed that "the digital explosion is pushing the limits of the data centre. If you have a problem with data in your business right now, I can promise you it's going to get worse."

Addressing the ever-increasing mobility of the modern workforce, he continued, "We're moving away from a paradigm of bring your own device, and into a world of choose any device. Pick up a device, and it becomes your device, because it knows who you are. That's going to make the smartphone-tablet debate look a little outdated."

The business execs and IT managers weaving through the aisles at Earls Court were gleaning more words of wisdom on Thursday, as keynoters included analytics expert Annika Jiminez, the Global Head of Data Science Services at Pivotal.

Leaping out of Jiminez’s address were six key tips for the modern day IT professional:

1

. Know your data, and its potential value.

2

. Get a vision and question the status quo.

3

. Deeply understand the technical paradigm shift that is underway.

4

. Hire or grow data scientists.

5

. Clear the path to operationalisation.

And above all, Jiminez said,

6

. Manage the disruption, rather than reject it.

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