Cybersecurity experts will undertake a live hack onstage at the upcoming Tech Summit in Cork to demonstrate the vulnerability of phone and computer security.
The event at Cork’s City Hall on Thursday, May 9 will see experts from global cyber- security and defence firm Trend Micro show how everyday systems can be breached in minutes, organisers said.
Head of corporate IT at Trend Micro, William Dalton said: “Cybercrime is not a new word to people’s vocabulary but it is a new concept for people to understand. People think about cybercrime as something that happens to big companies in other parts of the world not realising that the chances of them being impacted of a cybersecurity threat is very high.
At the Tech Summit, we want people to witness first hand how their phone and laptop can be hacked in minutes, via an open wifi network. They will see how criminals can quickly and easily access personal information, install keyboard tracking software and complete identity theft.
The Trend Micro team said identity theft and the stealing of personal data is much more common that people realise.
Europol, the EU-wide police network, has warned that the global impact of cybercrime has risen to €2.5tn, making it “more profitable than the global trade in marijuana, cocaine, and heroin combined”, while British firm Juniper said it would be worth €7tn in the next five years.
The annual Tech Summit is organised by voluntary tech group IT@Cork, which represents over 300 firms with a combined 30,000 employees in the Cork region.
Newly-elected chair of IT@Cork, Anthony O’Callaghan said the live hack was intended to bring home the risk of cybercrime to firms.
“The hack will most likely shock a lot of people and will definitely grab their attention. But we also want to use this opportunity to advise people of what steps they can take to protect themselves and their data,” said Mr O’Callaghan.
Director for cybercrime research in Trend Micro’s team will be delivering a keynote speech at the event.
He said: “Trend Micro have been publishing reports on cybercrime and identity theft in the criminal underground for many years covering many of the different cybercrime hubs. We regularly see people personal identity information sold very cheaply depending on what have the criminals have successfully stolen – but the “earnings” for these criminals can run into the millions depending on what data is being sold and the volume of it.
Protecting data online is not a simple task. It depends on your circumstance, your organisation, your geographical location, and your risk profile. But there are a few pieces of advice that are universally useful.
"Firstly, I would also recommend people to properly assess what they are trying to protect – so often I have seen organisations focus their efforts of protecting things that are not the critical part of their business.
"Secondly, you should then really assess what categories of attacker are likely to target you, and plan your defences accordingly. And lastly, it is always a good idea to assume that you are already compromised, and to operate your networks with that thought firmly in mind.
"That last one may be depressing, and it’s not to say that having good security solutions in place will not defend you from attack – they absolutely will. But by proactively always looking for signs of compromise, you raise the grade on your security. So, it is important to have the leading tools to be able to monitor and discover that."
Amine Belaouedj and David Byrne of Trend Micro will be demonstrating the live hack on the day.