Security breaches: Industry in belligerent mood

Kurmanath K.V. San Francisco | Updated on March 12, 2018

It is virtually an army of over 20,000 digital security experts and companies at this year's edition of RSA Conference that began here on Tuesday. They know they are facing a serious challenge from attackers from all over the world.

Mr Arthur Coviellor Jr, Executive Chairman of RSA, has invoked Sun Tzu, the legendary Chinese philosopher, whose Art of War has become a text book for militaries across the world.

This year’s theme is ‘The great cipher is mightier than the sword’, reflecting security industry’s resolve to put behind a bitter 12 months and to pre-empt attacks.

"We are in a combat with a host of adversaries who threaten our very trust in the world's digital economy," he said.

For this, the industry should have the mindset of military that factors in offence in their strategies. “We need more military experience and military grade intelligence. Yet, IT security industry does not recruit from military and still focuses on traditional security experts,” he said.

"New breeds of cyber criminals, hacktivists rogue nations have become adept at exploiting vulnerabilities," he said.

He knows this better. A year ago around this time, hackers attacked RSA, causing embarrassment to it.

Models inadequate

Taking that in his stride, Mr Arthur said that hackers have become more coordinated and collaborative, while the IT security industry continued in its linear thinking.

Calling the present set of models in dealing with the problem inadequate, he said, "an attack on us is an attack on all of us" and asked the industry to look for 'faint signals' in the explosion of 'big data' to preempt attacks.


To mark the inaugural, RSA released advance survey results on how boards and senior executives are governing the privacy and security of their organisations’ digital assets.

Conducted by Carnegie Mellon CyLab, the survey finds that top management is not appropriately governing privacy and securing their digital assets.

It surveyed firms in the Forbes Global 2000 list.

(The reporter is in San Francisco at RSA’s invitation)


Published on February 29, 2012

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