Security goes to Barcelona - MWC 2017

2017-03-17, 13:03 Posted by: Janne Haldesten

Nobody was happier than me when I heard that Cybercom was going to present on IoT security! Honoured to be the main speaker for the area, I also saw a great opportunity to browse trends and technology in general, but foremost from a security angle.

Mobile World Congress (MWC) is the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, organised by the GSMA and held in Barcelona, 27 February - 2 March 2017. Last year the event had over 100.000 visitors.

Cybercom's team on-site this year, consisting of many of our amazing colleagues from several offices in Sweden, Finland and Poland, - a highly capable and multi-faceted team where we demonstrated our connected helmet for workforce management as well as Google Tango apart from IoT Security. The helmet gained a lot of attention, and so did IoT security. Having spent several days with the team, I can only state that I'm proud to be part of Cybercom.

Cybercom's stand under construction.

Göran Dahlberg and yours truly, both from Secure, gave a presentation about IoT security twice per day for the organized IoT security tour. During the presentation we addressed the challenges in securing IoT, what the current status is as well as what Cybercom is doing for our customers in terms of securing IoT. We received a lot of interest and answered a lot of really thought-through questions pertaining to the subject.

Security these days is coming up with much greater frequency and much earlier in the conversations than ever before where it's at the forefront of the conversations. But it has been accelerated in the level of importance just because of all the stories that have been out there about things that have happened. Regarding IoT, we've started to see attacks in various places and contexts, which pretty much also explains why we saw a lot of security solutions in general. Some vendors had really promising solutions whereas others failed miserably security-wise.

While not holding presentations about IoT Security, I strolled around on the mess floor browsing vendors and technology, where some product releases really caught my attention, like the ultra secure mobile phone Katim from Darkmatter, a security company based in the UAE. Having a strict two-factor authentication, a self-destruct mechanism (disabling components) as tampering protection, it also carries customized micro-SD Card which won’t work in any other phone other than the one assigned to the user. Then there's a shield mode that allows you to use data with audio and video ports disabled at a hardware level. The phone didn't come with a price tag - if you need to ask how much the Katim  costs, you’re probably not a serious customer.  :)

Several exhibitors like Ubuntu, demonstrating their IoT core platform, had covering solutions for addressing IoT security in several layers. Some others addressed security for telcos, like SS7 SIGTRAN firewalls and network monitoring. A whole lof of the traditional security vendors were also present, like Sophos and Kaspersky where the latter had a F1 racing simulator that was really addictive.

Due to the sheer size of the event, it felt like I just managed to scratch the surface a bit. One good thing is actually to browse the list of exhibitors before going there, making a list of booths to visit, rather than opportunistically roam around. Being in the beautiful city of Barcelona for the first time, even though only experiencing a faction of what the city has to offer, I'm determined to return back in order to discover more - Hopefully through MWC next year, or through family vacation.

Given the event, I can definitely recommend it for anybody as it is a tremendous experience over all where you have an excellent opportunity to meet with people in the industry as well as getting a glimpse of emerging technologies.

Being home, it's time for me to unpack, stay at home for a week and re-pack my bag for Washington D.C. where I've been selected by the Atlantic Council to serve as judge at the US branch of the Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge.

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