cyber summit

Cybersecurity.

It is the buzz word of the moment, but what does it mean for the average American?

Well, turns out – a lot. Norton reports that the estimated global cost of consumer cybercrime is $172 billion per year. At home, more than 60 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2018. And with new smart household products rolling out each year, the Internet of Things introduces a new vulnerability heretofore unseen.

“In a way, we are all digital soldiers,” said Cyber Huntsville board member Judy Darwin. “We all have a role in protecting this country for all enemies foreign and domestic, even if we don’t wear a United States uniform.”

Being a technology hub in the United States, the Rocket City is well-versed in the critical importance of cybersecurity. Cyber Huntsville is a 501c6 of industry, government and academic institutions whose goal is to harness technical expertise and leadership to help solve local, regional, and national cyber challenges. The organization is once again hosting the National Cyber Summit 2020 June 2-4 at the Von Braun Center. Government civilian employee registration is free and a discounted early bird registration for all other attendees will be available thru Feb. 17. Interested persons can register for the summit at https://www.nationalcybersummit.com/Register.

The summit will feature industry leaders and guest speakers that will provide attendees a first-person account from expert practitioners. The speakers will address five specialty tracks: Advanced Manufacturing/SCADA/Supply Chain, Law Enforcement/Forensics, Redstone Arsenal Cyber Ecosystem, Research and Technical. In addition, more than 60 sessions will cover a wide variety of topics including advanced manufacturing, social engineering, human security, cyber skills gap, cyber resilience, forensics, security testing, reverse engineering, information security as risk management, risk analysis and malware, among other related topics.

Darwin, who also serves as vice president of the National Cyber Summit, said that there will be some new features at this year’s conference. The student program has expanded and she expects more than 150 students to attend. A conference dinner with keynote speaker will also debut this year. And a new unique activity will be the Social Living Escape Room where groups use their cyber skills to find their way out of an escape room on site.

Returning will be the popular Cyber Cup Challenge, in which students and professionals match wits to solve problems. But industry members should not get too confident, the students are stiff competitiors.

“One year a student that participated was also awarded an internship,” Darwin said.

Cyber Huntsville initially established a local Cyber Summit in 2008 in partnership with North Alabama Chapter of Information Systems Security Association and as interest grew, took it national in 2015, to become the National Cyber Summit. The group’s other initiatives include the U.S. Cyber Camp, Alabama School for Cyber Technology & Engineering, the Regional Computer Forensics Lab and extensive outreach to local schools. Shepherding the next generation of cyber professionals is a key part of Cyber Huntsville’s mission, Darwin said.

Darwin welcomes anyone who is interested in cybersecurity to become a member of Cyber Huntsville – regardless of whether they work in the field or not. She said that the organization’s main goal is to raise awareness that cybersecurity is not solely about protecting government and businesses interests but should be applied to daily lives. In the digital age, it is the new normal.

“Cyber effects everyone. It affects our children who are getting online at home,” Darwin said. “(The threats) we are seeing? It is critical.”

For more information about Cyber Huntsville, visit https://cyberhuntsville.org/.

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