Reflections on the UK Cybersecurity Summit 2019

On Thursday 7th November, SecureData hosted its 12th annual UK Cybersecurity Summit, held at London’s Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET). With the curtain now closed on yet another successful event, here’s a summary of what took place for those that were unable to join us for a day of technical talks, industry networking and security musings.

Record numbers were in attendance for our first summit since SecureData became a part of Orange Cyberdefense, and the year’s theme of ‘cyber society’ was aptly reflected in our ever-growing community of IT and cybersecurity influencers and experts.

With delegates assembled in the Kelvin Lecture Theatre, the morning session began with a reminder of SecureData’s bolstered capabilities under the Orange umbrella. Orange’s operator DNA, coupled with our unique and deep perspective on the cyber issues affecting the digital world today, are at the core of what we are trying to achieve together. This vision formed the basis of the thought leadership and technical talks provided throughout the summit, which included an exciting glimpse of what the future will hold for Europe’s largest managed security services provider.

First up on stage to kick off a jam-packed day of thought-provoking keynotes and breakouts was Geoff White, investigative journalist and author of, set the tone for the rest of the day with a disturbing snapshot into the murky world of hacking and the Dark Web. His talk served as a stark reminder to the audience of the dramatically shifting threat landscape that businesses and consumers across the world face each and every day.

Following White was SecureData’s very own Charl van der Walt, who discussed intelligence-led security in his wider talk on confusing cybersecurity myths with real facts. Speaking about research from our security intelligence team, Charl outlined findings around VPN security, malicious IP addresses and self-inflicted systemic spoofing attacks

Dominic White, CTO of SensePost, SecureData’s elite consulting arm, then took to the stage to discuss how major changes to the landscape are leading to new approaches in security; more specifically what is being seen by the SensePost team when they break into cloud and container environments.

To conclude the morning session, SecureData’s Etienne Greeff outlined the three pillars of active cybersecurity defence in his talk, entitled ‘Why understanding your attack surface matters’. Etienne spoke about the need to observe the threat landscape, to understand where vulnerabilities are, and to detect attacks and where you can be compromised.

After lunch, delegates were treated to further talks, with speakers from Palo Alto Networks, F5 Networks, Varonis, Check Point, Fortinet, LogRhythm, Zscaler, Okta, Blackberry, Thyotic, ForeScout and Gemalto, discussing the security issues that pose the biggest threat to their organisations.

Annie Machon, former MI5 Officer and hunted whistle-blower,  took over the stage to tell her first-hand story on the run, following her actions. She explained her view around the dark triad of those harvesting our data: intelligence organisations (both state and mercenary); corporations; and criminals. She also showed us how to mitigate the risk at a personal, corporate and societal level.

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