Florida Center for Cybersecurity

Third Annual Conference draws industry leaders, technology experts and record number of attendees

TAMPA, Fla. (November 1, 2016) – On Tuesday, October 25, a record crowd of over 750 people attended the Florida Center for Cybersecurity's (FC2) Third Annual Conference. One of Florida's fastest-growing cybersecurity events, this year's conference took place at the Tampa Convention Center to accommodate the increase in attendance, exhibitors, and activities.

"Our Third Annual Conference was a huge success by any measure," said Sri Sridharan, director at FC2. "The positive feedback from attendees has been overwhelming. In just a few short years, we've seen this grow into one of Florida's major cybersecurity events."

The conference included keynote addresses from industry experts Art Coviello, Executive Chairman (retired) of RSA, The Security Division of EMC, and Scott Charney, Vice President of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group.

"The only ones benefiting from the status quo are criminals, hacktivists, and rogue nations," Coviello said in his address, emphasizing our need to adapt to the rapidly shifting cyber landscape faced today.

"If North Korea had dropped a bomb on Sony, that would have been war. But if they attack them through cyber, what is that?" Scott Charney asked during his keynote address, pointing out how the global community has struggled to adopt policies regarding these new forms of attack. This includes even defining what constitutes "cyber warfare."

When attendees weren't hearing from industry leaders and technology experts, many took part in cyber challenges – a new addition to this year's conference. Participants were able to take on the roles of attackers who were tasked with exploiting a suite of highly vulnerable systems defended by military and student teams in a cyber offense challenge featuring Metova's CyberCENTS® training system.

"This type of exercise exposes participants to scenarios where they can apply practical solutions while at the same time exposing our military partners to different ways of thinking," explained Adam Sheffield, associate director at FC2.

USF's Whitehatters Computer Security Club (WCSC) also hosted a Capture the Flag (CTF) competition where participants tested their skills in software reverse-engineering, network analysis, forensics, injection, and cryptanalysis. During the CTF, 32 teams attempted to solve 23 challenges.

Conference sessions featured a diversity of topics, but a familiar theme expressed by many presenters centered on the general lack of preparation surrounding cybersecurity. Through its annual conference, FC2 hopes to build awareness and encourage the exchange of ideas amongst cybersecurity stakeholders from diverse sectors.

"We're proud to take a leadership role in advancing the dialogue on critical cybersecurity issues through this annual forum and we're looking forward to next year's event," Sridharan said.

Key supporters of this year's conference included: ReliaQuest, Abacode, Booz Allen Hamilton and Soltra. Keynote speakers for the event were presented as part of USF and The SunTrust Foundation Lecture Series.

Next year's annual cybersecurity conference will take place on October 27, 2017, at the Tampa Convention Center.

About the Florida Center for Cybersecurity

Created during the 2014 legislative session, the Florida Center for Cybersecurity (FC2) is a shared resource for cybersecurity research, education and outreach across the state and beyond. The Center fosters collaboration between higher education, government, defense and business communities to share knowledge, resources and training opportunities that help mitigate cybersecurity threats and create opportunities for innovative solutions. Located at the University of South Florida, FC2 is leading efforts to position Florida as a national leader in cybersecurity.

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Media Contact: Kate Whitaker, 813-974-1229

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn welcomes attendees to the Florida Center for Cybersecurity’s Third Annual Conference.