Cyber Ready 2016 Recap

Thanks to the dedication and hard work of all our speakers, panelists, sponsors and volunteers, the Cyber Ready 2016 conference hosted October 18 at MacDill AFB was a great success!

Cyber Ready 2016 Discussion Panel

Richard Dean - United States Secret Service; Derek Plensky - Chief Strategy Officer, Semantic Research Inc.; Colin Arnold - Director of Academic Affairs, National Cyber Partnership; Scott Carr - Dean of Advanced Technology, Keiser University; John Fay - Director of Corporate Development, Abacode; Gregory Scasny - CEO, Cybersecurity Defense Solutions

Cyber Ready2016 Panelists

The Buzz and Cyber Ready Florida

With over 120 total attendees, our 11 speakers generated a sense of community and opened many eyes to the issues we face today. The buzz of hot button discussions between attendees, presenters and panelists throughout the 12 hour conference saw many come together to share their ideas and perspectives. Sparks caught and the beginnings of an aware and committed community were birthed. Representatives of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity expressed excitement about the next Cyber Ready event, and interest in supporting the National Cyber Partnership's statewide campaign to build a "Cyber Ready" Florida.

Dr. Mark Maybury on Russia and the Election

The Tampa Bay Times subsequently featured an article with Cyber Ready's luncheon keynote speaker Dr. Mark Maybury, Vice President and Chief Security Officer for the MITRE Corporation and Director for National Cybersecurity FFRDC. The article focuses on Russia's involvement with WikiLeaks release of Hillary Clinton's emails and views this event as a strategic move towards global influence.

Read more: Russia's role in Clinton WikiLeaks seen as move toward global influence

Dr. Maybury talks about how Russia has been engaging in "information operations, cyber operations and deception operations" and has become very effective at the types of modern warfare superpowers face today. "They are trying to influence the election" Maybury says in his humble opinion, and that the answer as to why the Russians would want to get involved in the first place may likely lie with Putin believing that the Republican nominee Donald Trump could benefit their economic interests, or in a more cynical remark, that they would like to keep the U.S. citizens "focused on things at home" and potentially away from foreign affairs in the Crimea area or in the Middle East. In any case this has had a real impact here at home as we see both questions and eyebrows being raised regarding Trump's political ties, and the FBIs decision to reopen its investigation into Clinton's emails just days before early voting began in some states.

Colin Arnold on The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Director of Academic Affairs at National Cyber Partnership Colin Arnold spoke at the Cyber Ready conference on the risks of unattended network devices. His presentation was incredibly timely in light of the massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack occurring only 2 days later. This attack mostly affected the east coast of the United States, and saw millions of internet users lose access to many popular websites such as Twitter, Spotify, Reddit, CNN, Etsy, Sony's PlayStation Network and The New York Times.

Read more: The Possible Vendetta Behind the East Coast Web Slowdown 

Kyle York, the chief strategy officer for Dyn, said that the hackers launched this attack using "tens of millions" of malware infected devices all connected to the internet. This "Internet of Things" (IoT) is becoming a new target for hackers to wreak havoc on. Those who are cyber unaware leave entire communities defenseless and in many cases allow for these kinds of attacks to effect more sites and devices over a longer period of time.

United on the Cyber Battlefield Front-Lines

These are the front-lines of the cyber battlefield. Events like the Cyber Ready 2016 conference could not be more necessary as we focus on spreading awareness and build a stronger more secure cyber community in order to prevent and more efficiently battle these kinds of attacks. Only in being united will we be able to stand and meet cyber challenges head-on!

Many Thanks...

Thank you again to everyone who made this conference possible, to all our sponsors who continue to fight for a secure cyberspace, the representatives and leaders from the academic field, political arena, proud military members and business professionals who came to spread awareness and fan the flames of our growing "Cyber Ready" community.

A special thank you to Colleen Conway-Welch, Ed Horowitz and Kathryn Starkey who in their generosity made contributions towards the scholarship awards which went to the members of the winning college and high school MITRE Cyber Challenge teams - our up and coming cybersecurity warriors.