GCS logo over Parkovy building

Photo via Parkovy Remix by Jason Reed

City on the frontline of cyberwarfare to host Global Cybersecurity Summit

GCS2017 will host experts and thought leaders from both the private and public sector.


Ben Dickson



There has never been a more interesting time to hold a  cybersecurity conference.

Data breaches are breaking records year after year, the Internet of Things is dealing with a security crisis, and there’s a huge gap of cybersecurity talent to deal with the burgeoning threats. Meanwhile, companies continue to generate data in increasing numbers, and connectivity is finding its way into every nook and cranny of the green planet.

But the Global Cybersecurity Summit, which will be held for the first time in Kiev, Ukraine, in mid-June, stands out among others for key reasons. Perhaps chief among them is the fact that it is being held on the doorstep of Russia, one of the most active players in the tumultuous landscape of cyber warfare.

Russia is the main suspect behind a series of major cyberattacks across the world, and Ukraine has been at the receiving end quite a few times.

“In late 2015, roughly a quarter of a million people lost power in the Ukraine after their electric grid was compromised—a watershed event for industrial internet cybersecurity,” says Suzanne Spaulding, former undersecretary for national protection and programs directorate at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, alluding to an attack that is largely believed to be conducted by Russian hackers.

GCS2017 will host experts and thought leaders from both the private and public sectors. They will discuss the main cybersecurity challenges that governments, academia, industries, and firms across the world are facing—and possible solutions to those challenges.

“In recent years we’ve made great progress reaching the public with useful public health and safety information. But we’ve barely begun the conversation about the new threats from cyberspace,” says Dr. Gregory Michaelidis, the director of Security Awareness Lab LLC, who will be speaking at the conference. “We sorely need to get better at being digital, because whether we like it, or even know it, we all live within a growing constellation of internet-connected sensors, devices, and networks that are constant targets of online probing, theft, ransom, espionage, and even destruction.”

Spaulding, who will also speak at the summit, reminds of the broader threats facing an increasingly connected world. “In addition to electricity, water facilities, and other connected infrastructure, we have an estimated 50 billion devices coming online by 2020,” she says.

IoT insecurity is posing a threat to consumers, businesses, critical industrial infrastructures, and government institutions. Security holes in IoT devices have contributed to a number of major security incidents in the past year, including a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against Dyna key provider of internet infrastructure, which cut off millions of people from online services such as Twitter, Netflix, and PayPal.

However, despite its poor state of security, the Internet of Things can be part of the solution and not just another target, Spaulding believes. “I’m looking forward [to] being in the Ukraine to discuss IoT security and the lessons we all learned from the cyberattack on their grid,” she said.

GCS2017 will also explore trends and innovations that will be key to training the cybersecurity workforce of the future and protecting our increasingly connected world against emerging cyber threats. Among them will be the use of artificial intelligence, threat intelligence sharing, and encryption.

“In a world more fluid and complex than ever before, cybersecurity has emerged as one of the most significant challenges of our time,” says Antony Blinken, former U.S. deputy secretary of state and former deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama. “The rapid pace of technological change has created new risks and opportunities for individuals, companies, and governments alike. I look forward to discussing this dynamic challenge with leading security voices, as we work together to ensure advances in cyberspace—and across the technological frontier—continue to drive prosperity, innovation, and progress in Ukraine, the United States, and around the world.”

The summit is well received in Ukraine, which is a source of tech talent in the U.S. and across the world. Already, several government institutions have joined the event in partnership, including the Ukrainian Ministry of Economic Development and Trade’s State Finance Institution for Innovations, IT Ukraine Association, Hi-Tech Office Ukraine, and the Telecommunication Chamber of Ukraine Association (TCU).

The Global Cybersecurity Summit 2017 will be held in Kiev’s Parkovy Convention and Exhibition Center. More information about tickets and sponsorship can be found at GCS’s website.

The Daily Dot is a media partner for the Global Cybersecurity Summit and will be livestreaming the event, June 14-15, 2017.

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