Winn Schwartau Brings Back InfowarCon
By: Anthony Kimery
Homeland Security Today, 09/25/2013
A highly anticipated annual event for many years in the Washington, DC area, the InfowarCon conference is being resurrected by its founder, long-time cybersecurity authority, Winn Schwartau, who launched the event in 1994.
Having recently re-acquired the successful conference after being encouraged to “notch it up” by military, government and security experts, Schwartau said in a statement announcing the re-launch of the symposium that “Over the last twenty years, we have barely inched forward in national security-related cyber security issues
“We’re losing in intellectual property theft, cybercrime, perception management and overall cyber defense,” Schwartau said, adding, “I want to return to the roots of InfowarCon. I want to re-make InfowarCon into a truly immersive experience; a compelling interactive ‘Show Me, Don’t Tell Me’ discussion. A congress that makes a difference in today’s world.”
Schwartau, who coined the term “electronic Pearl Harbor” in 1991, said in a statement that “We’re defending our country and its critical infrastructures against the past, not the future.”
In his ground breaking 1994 book, Information Warfare: Chaos on the Electronic Superhighway, Schwartau introduced cyberterrorism to the public.
Conference Chair Dan Kuehl said “For the better part of two decades, starting in the early 90s, InfowarCon has simply been the conference for Info Warriors. Attendees didn’t have to worry about technobabble, nor having to sit through slides being presented by senior officers who just learned how to spell IW.”
“InfowarCon was around long before the Dot Com. For almost 20 years we brought together visionaries, practitioners, bleeding-edge thinking and technologies in a collegial setting to explore the many social, legal, security, privacy, resiliency and geopolitical concerns of the networked world,” said Dr. Richard Forno, director of the Graduate Cybersecurity Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “In the 1990s, those of us involved with InfowarCon were optimistic visionaries yet cautiously worried about the future — in 2013, while we remain optimistic we can also look back with confidence and say “we told you so.”
“So many of the same problems we discussed at the first InfowarCons are with us still today,” said Jason Healy, director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative of the Atlantic Council and a cyberspace and critical infrastructure protection advisor to the White House from 2003-2005. “Sure, the technology is cooler and the hackers seem younger, but otherwise there’s been little progress. Yet we continue to plug away at the internet of things and ever more connected lives, so a new, refreshed InfowarCon couldn’t be more timely.”
InfowarCon will ask “uncomfortable questions,” a press release announcing the conference said.
Among the questions: “Does corporate understand professional nation-state espionage? What can low-budget adversaries achieve with only $500? What can global adversaries with unlimited budgets do to your company, infrastructure or national security? And what about weaponizing emerging technologies over the next 3-20 years? Are we preparing at all?”
Phi Beta Iota: The US Government continues to be grotesquely irresponsible about its approach to both cyber-security for the public and private sectors, and its promiscuity in the offense, throwing stones while living in a glass house. Despite very clear calls for a holistic code-based approach to cyber-security, NSA and Cyber-Command remain intellectually and morally empty.