UBM, the organiser of the annual IFSEC exhibition and conference, has announced a major refocus for the event, commencing in 2018. The event organisers cite several high profile incidents in recent times as evidence of the changing threat landscape, and with these in mind the direction of IFSEC has subsequently been refocused to accommodate issues and risks that fall outside of the systems-based security arena.
Looking back at 2017, for many the risk landscape changed significantly. An increase in unpredictable attacks across Europe saw police and defence resources stretched, signalling a challenging era for public safety and security.
Cyber security breaches also hit the headlines. There was some indication of the cost of data breaches, when in light of the well-publicised Yahoo hack the company was forced to renegotiate the conditions of its sale to Verizon, dropping the expected price by $350 million.
Closer to home, the NHS was severely impacted by the WannaCry ransomware attack. Around 40 NHS trusts were impacted by the attack, leading to postponement of operations and procedures. Additionally, some hospitals required A&E admissions to be diverted for a number of days after the attack, which is believed to have such a dramatic effect as the networks were still using outdated Windows XP software.
The issue of ‘back doors’ in software, firmware and operating systems also came to the fore. Driven by battles between the FBI and Apple the previous year relating to encrypted data, a growing number of businesses and organisations became anxious about the potential for back doors and other unknown access points in their systems.
The fragility of shared cyber solutions was also highlighted following news that a firmware upgraded had ‘bricked’ a number of Lockstate smart locks. What made this newsworthy was the fact that the devices are recommended by Airbnb for use to allow registered guests to gain access to properties on arrival via an e-mailed code. Some reports claimed that a resolution took up to 18 days for some users!
IFSEC Brand Director, Gerry Dunphy, states that events such as these have created a pivotal theme requiring security to adapt, encompassing the growing importance of cyber security alongside more traditional security and safety applications.
He stated, ‘The time is now for the security profession to unite its knowledge and technologies to protect people, property and profits. To do this it must transform its expertise and access the required solutions.
‘As of 2018, it is IFSEC’s commitment to become the place for the profession to create a safer world.’
Dunphy stated that 2018 will be the inauguration year of a transformation of IFSEC, creating a high level security summit and integrated security event.
He explains, ‘IFSEC will become an orchestration of every aspect of how the security sector relates to the world, existing to be the conduit between the security profession and the solutions needed to achieve global safety.
‘To pilot this, in 2018, IFSEC will drive an emphasis on major keynote addresses from strategic global security leaders in a dedicated Summit, host a multitude of high level panel debates from government and industry influencers, and provide the opportunity to hear from those leading the way in identifying, installing and maintaining transformational security practices between physical and IT.’
The event, due to run from 19-21 June 2018 in London, will be the first to focus on this new integrated direction.
In summary, Dunphy added, ‘We trust that as custodians of IFSEC, which is a privilege we’re rightly proud to have, that the industry, market and every stakeholder will view this declaration of intent in a positive light. IFSEC is indeed a successful exhibition business but we’re acutely aware that it has a profound reason to exist at a more elevated level.’