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The Cyberweapons Arms Race to the Bottom: How America Moved from First Mover to the Most Vulnerable Nation State on Earth

Nicole Perlroth  (Cybersecurity Journalist, The New York Times)

Location: W325

Date: Wednesday, September 29

Time: 9:00am - 9:20am

Track: Security

Format: Keynote Presentation

Vault Recording: TBD

Federal, state and local governments. Public-safety communications. Hospitals. Electric Utilities. Gas pipelines. Water-supply and food-supply entities. Sensitive research facilities.

All of these critical-infrastructure sectors have been victimized in recent years by cyberattacks that exploit even the slightest vulnerabilities in the software, operations and personnel that comprise the foundational systems that keep America running. From data breaches to ransomware demands, these compromises are becoming more commonplace, and their impacts are proving to be increasingly debilitating—financially and operationally.

But phishing, denial-of-service, and ransomware attacks are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg that forms the cyberthreat landscape. Nation-states are leveraging an ever-connected world to launch highly sophisticated cyberattacks on each other’s critical networks—threats sometimes enabled by governments not revealing vulnerabilities that they exploit for their own surveillance purposes.

No matter the motive, the source or the technique used to execute the compromise, such cyberwarfare initiatives can leave individuals, businesses and critical-infrastructure entities as collateral damage.

Join us at IWCE 2021 to learn more about this dark market, where zero-day exploits are being sold for millions of dollars, in some cases.

Nicole Perlroth—a cybersecurity journalist for The New York Times and author of the best-selling book, This is How They Tell Me the World Ends—offers a glimpse into this cyberweapons arms race, providing fresh insights about the sources and capabilities associated with the most serious cyberthreats we face.

This topic is especially timely as public-safety and critical-infrastructure officials make decisions to modernize key networks amid pressure to “do more with less” via automation. Frequently, such automation is made possible by interconnected IoT sensors and software-based systems—technologies that can enhance functionalities and operational efficiencies but can also greatly expand the potential attack vectors for cyberweapons.