TasICT AISA Cyber Conference – 3 things to get excited by

Author: Martin McGregor, Cofounder and CEO, Devicie 

For the first time, the Australian Information Security Association (AISA) is teaming up with Tasmania’s peak IT body, TasICT, for a cybersecurity conference.

The event will take place Thursday September 29 at Wrest Point Hotel Casino, Hobart, and will focus on how organisations can better defend against the most common cyber threats, including ransomware and business email compromise (BEC).

I am pleased to announce Devicie’s participation at the conference; I will be presenting at 2.40pm AEST in Wellington Room 1 on why employee device security demands a holistic approach to successfully defend against cyber attacks. Devicie will also be teaming up with our friends at VIT Cyber Security for the vendor exhibition, so if you’re in attendance, be sure to say hi.

With 15 concurrent presentations and an hour-long security summit by the Tasmanian Government, there is going to be ample opportunity to network and learn something new.

Here’s what I’m looking forward to most:

1. Ransomware case study

This session, led by Craig Squires – CIO for Technology Services Group – will examine the ransomware attack on the Federal Group: Tasmania’s largest private employer and pokies giant.

For those who don’t know or can’t remember, the Federal Group was hit by a ransomware attack in April 2021. Despite the cybercriminals shutting down the casino and hotel owner’s gaming machines and hotel booking system for several weeks, the Federal Group didn’t pay up.

With ransomware among the biggest security threats out there, there is no doubt this session will attract big numbers.

Ransomware costs the Australian economy as much as $2.59 billion annually, with organisations reportedly paying on average $250,000 per incident. Even after the ransom has been paid, there is no guarantee of regaining access to the seized files.

I am happy the Federal Group chose not to pay the ransom. Paying ransom often fuels some of the worst criminal organisations in the world, validating their business model and causing greater attraction for future cybercriminals.

I’m looking forward to hearing more about the reasoning behind the decision not to pay up and how their experience can help other businesses resist paying.

2. Tasmanian Government Cyber Security Summit

Facilitated by Retrospect Labs Co-founder and CEO Ryan Janosevic, the summit will focus on the Tasmanian Government’s role in protecting citizen data and critical information against known supply chain risks.

Ryan has a wealth of experience across security and incident response in both the private and public sectors. He headed up the Joint Cyber Security Program at the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) before leading Threat Intelligence and Incident Response at AGL Energy and then co-founding Retrospect Labs in 2020.

He also happens to be a good friend of mine. In the years we’ve known each other, I’ve always been impressed by Ryan’s wisdom and guidance in helping businesses to up their defences so they are prepared should disaster strike. Devicie has taken Ryan’s advice on board in the past because his approach is pragmatic and measured. I’m looking forward to hearing Ryan facilitate the summit, including the hypothetical exercise, and hearing what he has to say.

3. Vendor exhibition and networking

The conference will also feature an exhibition with demonstrations from participating vendors. Devicie will be sharing a booth with our friends at VIT Cybersecurity, so be sure to drop by if you’re in attendance.

With more than 300 registrants so far, there’s no doubt this will be a great event. I’m looking forward to catching up with my friends in the industry, mingling with new people, sharing the Devicie story and taking home some new lessons.

If you happen to be in Tasmania, be sure to register for the event (it’s completely free of charge, but registration is required for numbers). You can also view the full conference program on the TasICT website. I hope to see you there!

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