The annual Cyber Week 2021, one of the world’s leading cybersecurity conferences, will be taking place at Tel Aviv University between July 19th-22nd. For the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic part of the sessions will be hosted in-person, while the entire summit will also be streamed online. Among the speakers are Naftali Bennett Israel’s 13th Prime Minister, Yair Lapid Israel’s Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
The conference is a joint effort by Tel Aviv University’s Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center (ICRC) and Yuval Ne’eman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security, and the Israeli National Cyber Directorate under the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Healthcare, Zoom Bombings and Ransomware
Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel, Conference Chairman of Cyber Week, listed some of the major cyber threats, which will be discussed at the conference:
The Covid-19 pandemic, and the need to communicate and work remotely, have increased our dependence on computers and the internet, accelerating cyber risks, or what could be defined as ‘the cyber pandemic’.
Cyberattacks on healthcare institutions have become more frequent during (and due to) the Covid-19 (mainly through demanding of ransoms for patient data) leaving patients’ lives and livelihoods vulnerable, as well as the financial standing and reputation of hospitals. The attacks seek to cause damage by targeting less-secure digital resources and these must be prevented.
While ransomware is not a new threat, threat actors are growing bolder and more sophisticated as their methodologies are evolving. One of the current main trends is the employment of additional extortion tactics such as leaking stolen information, publishing the incident to the media, notifying the victim’s partners and customers of the incident etc. Ransomware, one of the main aims of hackers and Zoom bombings have become much more frequent over the past year – and the amounts demanded have grown considerably.
The pandemic-driven boost in online learning and meeting sessions have become an increasingly popular target for hackers who gain access to the dial-in information and intrude into video conferences, often with the aim of sharing inappropriate content.
The pandemic is stressful for everyone, but for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) the struggle is a daily matter. Any slip-up may have grave consequences, while their success is utterly uneventful – just another day with business as usual. On the CISO panel there will be Wendy Nather Head of Advisory CISO Team Cisco; Andy Ellis, a well-known industry leader, having pioneered the CSO role over his 20-year tenure at Akamai Technologies.
Some countries followed the Israeli model and have dedicated heads of cyber, and several of these will attend Cyber Week 2021 to discuss cybersecurity on a national level, including Brandon Wales, Acting Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) who will speak about current cyber challenges facing the U.S.; Karel Rehka, Director of NUKIB National Cyber and Information Security Agency in the Czech Republic, and Lindy Cameroon CEO of National Cyber Security Center (part of the GCHQ) UK.
Industry, Government and Academia Meet
In recent years, the popular five-days long event has been attended annually by almost 10,000 people from over 90 countries. Experts from industry, government and academia across the globe come together to exchange cyber dialogue on current issues, trends and technological solutions.
Prof. Ben-Israel welcomes anyone interested to attend to the event, whether in-person or online, noting that “For more than a decade, Cyber Week has served as an invaluable platform for critical knowledge-sharing among the most distinguished cybersecurity professionals and cross-industry experts from around the world. The year-over-year success of Cyber Week is a testament to Israel’s standing as a world-renowned cybersecurity hub and the power of international cooperation to safeguard the world in the face of an ever-growing threat landscape. We are thrilled to congregate in-person after more than a year of Covid-19. The pandemic’s widespread impact has greatly affected the state of cybersecurity with its ripple effect on the ways we work, communicate and operate in our day-to-day lives. It is more critical than ever that we come together now to offer our global community valuable perspectives and insights.”