Visiting Coffs Harbour for FlexibilITy 2012

The travels continue. I’m heading to Coffs Harbour in northern New South Wales next month to speak at Flexibility 2012, the 15th Annual IT Conference for Local Government.

You’ll be surprised, I’m sure, to discover that I’m talking about information security.

The Hacker Threat: Let’s bust some myths

The headlines portray the internet as a scary, scary place. Anonymous hacktivists mock the powerful, defacing websites and stealing vast troves of confidential information. Criminals plunder bank accounts and destroy credit ratings. Shady “nation-state actors” infiltrate secure government and corporate networks, stealing every secret they can find.

Information security companies publish research “proving” the vast scale of global online crime. Defence experts point to the vast sums being spent on military-grade hacking and talk of looming cyberwar. Of course both groups have a vested interest in talking up the threat.

The hackers are certainly real, ranging from youthful vandals with unfocussed quasi-political motivations to highly-organised international crime gangs and well-funded national defence and intelligence agencies.

Sophisticated hacking tools are now developed by professional software development teams. They can be bought in the online underground for just a few hundred dollars, complete with technical support provided under a service level agreement.

So how should organisations respond?

The threat landscape is certainly changing, so new tools will certainly be required. But it’s important to understand the real threats and their relative significance, and respond as part of a coherent strategy, rather than reacting to the latest panic.

This session will present an overview of current internet security threats based on the latest research with the bovine excrement filtered out.

I’ll be in Coffs Harbour from the morning of Wednesday 14 November through to the afternoon of Saturday 17 November. Apart from the conference itself, I’m open to suggestions.

Consilium: Social media is destroying society? Good!

Last month I took part in a fascinating discussion about the impact of social media and related breakthroughs at Consilium [PDF], an invitation-only annual conference put together by the Centre for Independent Studies. Here’s part of what I said.

The panel was called “Social Creatures: How social media is changing the landscape”. I joined Iarla Flynn, Google Australia’s head of public policy and government affairs; Nick Holder, a partner at LEK Consulting; and Cassandra Wilkinson, co-founder and president of FBi Radio, and author of Don’t Panic! Nearly Everything is Better than You Think.

The full blurb and a scheduled duration of 1 hour 45 minutes gave us plenty of scope for discussion and, as became clear once we were under way, for this particular audience much of what we were saying was new.

Consilium was held under a modified Chatham House Rule, which means I can’t bring you the whole discussion. But I did record my opening remarks and my summary, and I have permission from those I namechecked to mention their names — except for one that’s redacted.

Somehow I managed to use the phrase “arse end of the bell curve” and mention Prince Harry’s pubic hair. It’s a gift.

Play

The full transcript is over the jump. Audio and text ©2012 Stilgherrian.

Continue reading “Consilium: Social media is destroying society? Good!”

And for the trifecta, I’m speaking at ACCAN’s conference

Since I’m blogging about my forthcoming speaking engagements, I should probably also mention that I’m on a panel at ACCAN’s National Conference on 5 to 6 September.

ACCAN is the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, and the panel I’m on is called “Privacy & Security”.

Privacy dilemmas are getting bigger every year as more of our lives and essential information are moving online. This discussion will explore online privacy and security policies. A top tech journalist [that’s me!] will examine whether there is such a thing as privacy in the online world, and a broadband services expert will explain the key privacy and security challenges likely faced in providing medical and other services over broadband.

The other panellists are Nigel Waters from the University of New South Wales’ Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre and Dean Economou from NICTA.

So, privacy and security. That seems to be my gig now…

I’m going to Consilium and you’re not invited

I’m rather flattered to have been invited to speak at Consilium on 23 to 25 August, an invitation-only annual conference put together by the Centre for Independent Studies.

There’s a brochure [PDF]. but essentially Consilium is “leading thinkers from business, politics, policy, academia and the community” talking the “critical issues facing the world” under a modified Chatham House Rule. So I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to tell you afterwards.

I’m on a panel discussion called “Social Creatures: How social media is changing the landscape”, with Iarla Flynn, Google Australia’s head of public policy and government affairs; Nick Holder, a partner at LEK Consulting; and Cassandra Wilkinson, co-founder and president of FBi Radio, and author of Don’t Panic! Nearly Everything is Better than You Think.

Continue reading “I’m going to Consilium and you’re not invited”

Keynoting the Saasu Cloud Conference 2012 with security

On 11 May I’ll be delivering one of the keynote presentations at Saasu’s inaugural conference, the Saasu Cloud Conference 2012 in Sydney.

The cloud is the enabler, it’s the medium that automation grows in. We want to focus on the value of online accounting automation, why it’s often undervalued and how you can get some for your own business or practice.

Saasu makes the online accounting system that I’ve been using since July 2007, and I know the chief executive officer and founder Marc Lehmann and chief happiness officer Tony Hollingsworth.

Good leadership and a good attitude continues to deliver a good product. Well, I think so anyway. At least it works for me.

My keynote will be something about security and the cloud, obviously enough, but I’ll lock down the details before the end of this week.

Mind you, I wrote the ZDNet Australia feature Cloud security? Better get a lawyer, Son! in October 2010, and since then I’ve written Cloud could be ‘privacy enhancing’: Pilgrim and Hybrid clouds the eventual reality for risk management and Today’s cloud winners: the cybercriminals and Want government cloud? Rethink security! so I’ve got plenty of material to start with.

Saasu has kept the price down to a reasonable $99 for a full-day event. You can register online.

[Update 11 May 2012: I’ve just posted notes and background material for my presentation, Security and the Cloud: Hype versus Reality.]