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Hackers and the Future of Cybersecurity

We’re all familiar with the stereotype. Hackers are people who wear hoodies and sit in someone’s basement on their computers, looking to infiltrate systems and wreak havoc in cyberspace.

But the reality is very different. Many cyber intrusions today begin with a physical security breach, such as social engineering, picking a lock, or breaking into a facility to gain access to the network. Once the threat actor has that foothold, he or she can use it to steal a laptop, a password written on a Post-It note stuck to a desk, or plug in to a server to gain access to corporate secrets that could harm the organization.

The threats posed by hackers with malicious intent force security professionals to address vulnerabilities in their systems and enhance their overall security posture to prevent additional harm. Keren Elazari, a senior researcher at the Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center at Tel Aviv University, shared this perspective in a TED Talk in 2014.

“We are often terrified and fascinated by the powers hackers now have,” she said. “They scare us. But the choices they make have dramatic outcomes that influence us all. So, I am here today because I think we need hackers, and in fact, they just might be the immune system for the information age. Sometimes they make us sick, but they also find those hidden threats in our world, and they make us fix it.”

Since 2014, Elazari has continued to be recognized as an independent voice on cybersecurity, working with leading security firms, government organizations, and Fortune 500 companies to address their vulnerabilities.

She’s also active in the cybersecurity community, running BSidesTLV—Israel’s largest security community event—and Leading Cyber Ladies—a network for women in cybersecurity. In an interview with the GSX Daily, Elazari shares how important these communities and the conversations they foster have become during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Staying in touch has always been a challenge…but communities and professional events are more important now than ever before because we have to be in touch to replace that normal networking,” Elazari says.

This has been especially critical as the cyber threat landscape expands during the pandemic and security professionals need to be aware of the latest threat intelligence and vulnerabilities that target individuals working from home.

“There’s been an explosion in potential targets,” Elazari adds, with personal devices becoming part of the organizational network. “The perimeter does not exist in the same way. Home is the new office.”

On Thursday, 24 September, Elazari will share with GSX+ attendees how cybersecurity is no longer just about protecting secrets but is essential to our way of life, from transportation systems to medical devices to stock markets to political campaigns. Elazari will discuss how hackers can be instrumental in identifying vulnerabilities and solving technology problems, sharing her experiences working with Israeli security firms, government organizations, and more.

To learn more and view Elazari’s remarks, attend GSX+ Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m. EDT.