Five things we learned (about cyber security) from Dublin Info Sec 2016

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Brian Honan, Dr Pavel Gladyshev, Joseph Carson, Mary Aiken and Adrian Weckler at the Dublin Info Sec 2016 Conference in the RDS
Brian Honan, Dr Pavel Gladyshev, Joseph Carson, Mary Aiken and Adrian Weckler at the Dublin Info Sec 2016 Conference in the RDS

It's only halfway through the day of the Dublin Info Sec 2016 and the discussion and thoughts around cyber security are flowing.

With an opening from Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald, the first-of-its-kind conference began with a speech from digital forensic expert Joseph Carson on 'The Estonian Experience' and a round table discussion on 'Ireland's Cyber Resiliency'.

Guest speakers cyber psychologist Mary Aiken and experts Brian Honan and Dr Pavel Gladyshev joined Mr Carson on the stage with MC and INM's Technology Editor Adrian Weckler. The RDS Main Arena was full with industry delegates as we listened to what the experts had to share. 

1) Ireland is in the firing line for a major cyber attack

Cyber security strategist at Thycotic, Joseph Carson, made probably the most frightening statement in the conference's morning session when he warned that Ireland's position as a key location in the international supply chain between the EU and the US makes us a strong target of a DDOS attack for those intent on disrupting trade between the two areas.

2) The Internet is not secure

It's something that we use on a daily basis - for waking us up, for planning our day, for timing our bus/train, for contacting our work colleagues, for posting our personal experiences. Although we have "built systems & services on the internet, the internet was never designed to be secure", cyber security expert Brian Honan reminded us.

Read more: Ten best quotes (from the experts) at Dublin Info Sec 2016

3) The majority of cyber attacks are due to humans

Human error accounts for some 65pc of all malicious attacks, according to the experts at Dublin Info Sec 2016. The exact percentage may vary from study to study but the problem remains the same - how exactly are we going to deal with the weakest link? Poor passwords, unpatched software, old anti-virus: it is the unsophisticated cyber attacks that are, in fact, the most prevalent.

4) Estonia is better prepared for cyber attacks than Ireland

Learning lessons is what Estonia did best, Mr Carson told during his presentation on 'The Estonian Experience', and is something that Ireland could do well to mimic. After violent physical protests shook Estonian streets (Bronze Night) in 2007 and government offices, political parties, large banks and news organisations were next to suffer by way of cyber attacks - the country took stock. "While other countries were building roads, Estonia was building the X-road"

Mr Honan also feels that we should be doing more in terms of awareness around cyber security - and in deterring it.  "Cyber crime is now the number one crime in the UK. In Ireland, we have ‘none’ because we don’t even report it in our crime stats," he said. 

5) Cyber security skills should start at the age of six

It all starts with the young ones apparently, Mr Carson believes, saying that cyber security should be a mandatory class in school. "School children have horrendous cyber security skills...awareness needs to start at the age of six."