About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

02 March 2012

RSA Conference Day 3

Today was probably the most informative day at the conference for me, with a number of great sessions and speakers. The highlights undoubtedly were the talks by Mikko Hypponen and Sal Khan.

One of the "gurus" of security, Mikko Hypponen (chief researcher at F-Secure) presented a brilliant presentation on terrorism and IT - on the technology platforms used by terror groups to communicate and spread propaganda; on their encryption and steganography techniques and also where their IT system are concentrated. Although he focused on Al Qaeda, this was a sample of what is available and used by other groups including white supremacist etc. While there has been no "real" cyberterrorist activity (e.g. attacks on mass infrastructure, instead of defacement) there is proof that there are people who actually have the technical means.

That said, I think the hype on cyberterrorism is overblown. As is the case for cyberwarfare, although there are certainly nations that have already built up capabilities in this regard. But some of the proposed remediations are not only technically difficult (if not impossible) but have far more reach than is necessary.

Salman Khan, the founder of the Khan Academy gave an inspirational talk on possibly the future of education. It is the only talk I have attended at the conference to have received a standing ovation, and deservedly so - it was inspirational, it was funny and it was technical. The intention is that it is eventually available in multiple languages and I think it could really revolutionize education everywhere. Yes, bandwidth and infrastructure are issues, especially with video but this is not insurmountable.

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