Cyber-Activism and Cyber-War Spotlighted at Panda Security’s Third Annual Security Blogger Summit
ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Panda Security, the Cloud Security Company, today announced highlights from its Third Annual Security Blogger Summit, held last week in Madrid. This year’s event focused on cyber-activism and cyber-war, as well as the new dangers posed to users and institutions on the Internet. The roundtable discussion, featuring top security experts in the industry, centered around the most recent examples of this emerging phenomenon, case studies of international cooperation and the limits to these activities on the Web. More than 300 technology and computer security experts and journalists who attended the event gleaned expert opinions on new trends for 2011 and the legal framework against this type of malicious Web activity.
The Summit gathered an impressive line-up of renowned speakers and journalists from Spain and the United States, including: Elinor Mills, senior writer at CNET; Bob McMillan, senior writer at IDG News Service; Enrique Dans, well-known blogger and professor at the Instituto de Empresa Business School; Chema Alonso, a URJC University Computer Engineer, postgraduate in Information Systems and author of the blog “Un Informatico en el Lado del Mal“; and Ruben Santamarta, an IT researcher with more than 10 years of experience in reverse engineering and IT security. All of them converged to underline the importance of these coordinated worldwide attacks on international institutions.
Cyber-Activism: Internet Protests and Demonstrations
The Summit kicked off with a keynote by Enrique Dans, which focused on the role of cyber-activism in recent political revolts such as those in Iran, Tunisia and Egypt. He also emphasized his point of social media taking down the barriers of activism by stating, “You can retweet a message and believe you’re already part of a cyber-activist movement.”
As for recent events regarding Web attacks in defense of WikiLeaks CEO Julian Assange, Dans explained, “There is no way to stop a phenomenon like WikiLeaks. In the future, anybody will be able to disclose relevant information from a website, as contaminated as this might be.”
McMillan further emphasized the importance of a site like WikiLeaks by saying, “WikiLeaks is as important as The New York Times. It has helped those who wanted to expose sensible information, and to think of changing the legislation in the wake of a denial of service attack like those in the ‘Operation Avenge Assange’ is very difficult, even though these examples of cyber-activism may seem legitimate to you.”
The debate, moderated by Panda Security’s corporate director of Strategy Josu Franco, continued to engage the audience in discussing overarching security trends, with CNET‘s Mills adding, “People have replaced neighbor meetings with Internet-based tools.”
Alonso added, “Technical evolution has changed the way people express themselves and now it is no longer necessary to gather three million people to attract attention.”
According to Santamarta, “Cyber-activism was born from the global situation we live in.” He questioned the legality of cyber-activism vs. the apparent legitimacy of the initiatives behind it to which Dans replied, “Users want honesty, and that’s the key of WikiLeaks. The worrying aspect is the lack of reaction from governments throughout the world after all the information disclosed by WikiLeaks.”
Cyber-War: Reality vs. Sensationalism
The Summit participants discussed the most relevant examples of cyber-war, such as the alleged attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear plants using the Stuxnet Trojan, as well as Operation Aurora, concerning attacks on Google from China in order to steal corporate secrets.
Mills and McMillan both pointed out that the term ‘cyber-war’ was ‘too exaggerated’ for the actual events taking place. “We still do not know the real dimensions of cyber-war and it is easy to confuse it with espionage or even cyber-crime,” explained Mills. McMillan added that, “Even though Stuxnet has been used as a cyber-weapon, it does not mean that we are already knee deep in a cyber-war. If there really was a cyber-war, it would be on a global scale, as the two Great Wars of the 20th century.”
Santamarta however insisted on the idea that the cyber-war phenomenon is in its early stages and will likely become a reality in 10 years’ time. “We are talking about a war without an army. It is a fourth-generation war where it is possible to damage a country without having to invade it with soldiers. A country can have another one under control through the Internet even before they have declared war on each other.”
Santamarta also expressed his hope that, “Not everybody is willing to launch attacks such as these.” Finally, Alonso stated that, “Fortunately at present, the people that can do such a thing are very few and must be extremely knowledgeable.”
More information about the Third Security Blogger Summit is available at www.securitybloggersummit.com. You can also view photos of the event at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/panda_security/sets/72157625996833038/
About Panda Security
Founded in 1990, Panda Security is the world’s leading provider of cloud-based security solutions, with products available in more than 23 languages and millions of users located in 195 countries around the World. Panda Security was the first IT security company to harness the power of cloud computing with its Collective Intelligence technology. This innovative security model can automatically analyze and classify thousands of new malware samples every day, guaranteeing corporate customers and home users the most effective protection against Internet threats with minimum impact on system performance. Panda Security has 61 offices throughout the globe with US headquarters in Florida and European headquarters in Spain.
Panda Security collaborates with Special Olympics, WWF and Invest for Children as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility policy.
SOURCE Panda Security