ITS Hosts 2015 Cybersecurity Summit

On Friday, October 30, 2015, ITS hosted this year’s annual USC Cybersecurity Summit. The event, held at the Davidson Conference Center and live-streamed to the Health Sciences Campus, attracted many students, faculty, and staff interested in learning more about security issues facing the IT world today. USC chief information security officer David Shaw kicked off the summit, noting that he hoped the event would raise awareness of IT threats and how to avoid them.

The summit included a range of speakers, from USC faculty to industry experts. Chet Wisniewski, senior security advisor for Sophos, presented an overview of historical and modern security threats and discussed the constantly evolving techniques and strategies of malware detection. Joseph Greenfield, a faculty member from the Viterbi School of Engineering’s Information Technology Program, discussed several cases of cyber attacks against faculty and administrators at universities across the country. He proceeded to demonstrate several devices, disguised as USB storage drives, that could be used to take over or destroy a computer, and reminded attendees to think twice before plugging in an untrusted thumb drive.

Sean Cordero and Mannie Romero, from Optiv Security, closed out the summit. Cordero discussed information security issues related to cloud computing, including risks and misconceptions of using cloud services, as well as resources for finding cloud solutions to meet computing, regulatory compliance, and security needs. Romero provided insight into why individuals or organizations might engage in illicit cyber activities, from hacktivism to espionage to monetary gain, and encouraged students to consider careers in information security.

While three lucky attendees walked away with door prizes including USC football tickets and an Apple Watch, everyone left the summit with a better appreciation of the cybersecurity landscape and a greater understanding of how to recognize and protect themselves against cyber threats.