Abu Dhabi meet spotlights threats of Net connectivity - GulfToday

Abu Dhabi meet spotlights threats of Net connectivity


Ideas Abu Dhabi is a celebration of innovative thinking.

Abu Dhabi: Cybersecurity – its importance, opportunities and challenges – took centre stage at Ideas Abu Dhabi on Thursday morning, with a series of discussions taking place at the Forum. Moderated by WIRED Editor-in-Chief Nick Thompson, the sessions included speakers such as the ‘World’s Most Famous Hacker’ Kevin Mitnick, Former President of Estonia Toomas Ilves, Director, Tech Policy Hub, Aspen Institute Betsy Cooper and Admiral (Retd.) and Former Director of the NSA Mike Rogers.

 “Cyber: The New Battleground?”, the first moonshot of the day, shed light on emerging threats as a result of the exponential growth of Internet connectivity. Kevin Mitnick, former hacker and founder of Mitnick Security, began the discussion with a demonstration of the ease of accessing user, even with security measures such as two-factor authentication and biometrics. Mitnick emphasised the importance of enforcing greater personal and company security, with tactics ranging from password managers to businesses being more proactive in taking the right measures across entire organisations.

Taking the cybersecurity conversation further was Betsy Cooper, Director, Tech Policy Hub, Aspen Institute who was joined by Cassandra Kelly, co-founder Pottinger and CChange. They discussed the need for companies to build security into the method of their business, along with recent strides made in the cybersecurity space. The speakers also expressed their concern with autonomous machines and robots being built for the future, remarking that critical ethical issues need to be addressed at much earlier stages of development.

In the third session, Toomas Ilves, former President of Estonia, was joined by Dr Antonio Missiroli, Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, NATO – for a panel titled “National Cyber strategies: Challenges and Solutions.”  The debate raised questions about cyber vulnerabilities for nation states, and highlighted the importance of protecting critical infrastructure and encrypting data as a defensive measure against international cyberattacks.

The ‘moonshot’ concluded with a session with Admiral (Retd.) Mike Rogers, Former Director, US National Security Agency and former Commander, US Cyber Command titled “What is on the horizon?”

The thought-provoking conversations continued at Ideas Abu Dhabi with the fourth and final moonshot titled “Faster, Further, For All? The Future of Transport” which included speakers such as Josh Giegel, Co-Founder and CTO, Virgin Hyperloop  One; Lucy Hawking; Vik Kachoria, CEO, Spike Aerospace; and Amin Toufani, CEO, t Labs and Chair of Finance and Economics, Singularity University.

Ideas Abu Dhabi is a two-day celebration of innovative thinking that brings the brightest minds from around the world together to discuss and share ideas on some of the world’s most pressing challenges.  The event is held in association with the Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organisation based in Washington, DC, and is hosted by Tamkeen, a company that delivers projects enriching Abu Dhabi’s social, cultural, and educational landscape.

Tamkeen is a company that delivers projects to meet Abu Dhabi’s vision of knowledge-based development. This is achieved by collaborating with a variety of local and international institutions to enrich Abu Dhabi’s social, cultural and educational landscape in line with its Economic Vision 2030.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organisation that has gained a reputation for gathering together diverse, nonpartisan thought leaders, creatives, scholars and members of the public in order to address some of the  world’s most complex problems. Based in Washington, DC, the Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and offices in New York City.

In a separate development, the Ideas Abu Dhabi Festival was a showcase of talented performances, stimulating conversations and engaging activities at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), Saadiyat Island.

The open-to-all festival enthralled festival-goers with performances by Arabs Got Talent finalist Daneel Sayegh, Jordanian acoustic pop and RnB sensation Dina Rabadi, and jazz maestro Alan Farragher.

Visitors also attended enlightening talks with the extraordinary Daniel Tammet who displayed his amazing mental abilities that allows him to learn an entire language in a week, or recite the number Pi to over 22,000 decimal places without a single error; Josh Giegel, CTO and Co-Founder of Virgin Hyperloop One, who talked about the revolutionary power of hyperloop; along with Drew Murray and Stephen Davies who showcased their colourful 3D printed assistive devices for children.