The RSA Conference 2016 in San Francisco has drawn advance buzz from some quarters - and outright scorn from others - over its decision to run a panel that features the creator and two cast members of the hit TV show "CSI: Cyber" (see Real Hackers Wield Social Engineering).
See Also: 2016 State of Threat Intelligence Study
But what will arguably make this year's conference even more interesting, compelling and relevant are recent real-world news events, including the crypto court battle now unfolding between Apple and the FBI (see Apple vs. FBI: Readers Debate).
8 Hot Sessions
Looking beyond all of that drama, here are my picks for some top sessions:
- The Cryptographers' Panel (March 1, 9:50 a.m.): Cryptography heavyweights Whitfield Diffie, Ronald Rivest, Adi Shamir and Moxie Marlinspike discuss the latest encryption trends.
- Malware as a Service: Kill the Supply Chain (March 2, 10:20 a.m.): Leading information security experts - including Johannes Ullrich and Lance James - outline strategies for shuttering malware rings.
- Habits of an Effective CISO (March 3, 8:00 a.m.): Hear four CISOs share their secrets.
- Data Breach Litigation: How to Avoid It and Be Better Prepared for Defense (March 3, 11:30 a.m.): CISO Andrea Hoy and attorney Ronald Raether offer advice.
- Opportunities and Challenges to Securing the Internet of Things (March 3, 8 a.m.): The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Suzanne Spaulding joins experts from Symantec and PKWARE to discuss consumer and commercial IoT devices and address the question of what it will take to make them secure.
- Confronting Cybercrime: Exploring the Legal and Investigative Challenges (March 3, 9:10 a.m.): U.S. Attorney David Hickton gives a behind-the-scenes look at several high-profile prosecutions, including the first-ever indictment of Chinese military members on hacking and economic espionage charges, disrupting Gameover Zeus malware as well as the underground marketplace Darkode.
- Bridging Cybercrime and Cybersecurity - How Law Enforcement Battles Cyberthreats (March 3, 11:30 a.m.): Panelists from the Department of Justice, FBI and U.S. Secret Service talk offense, defense and partnerships.
- Beyond Encryption: Why We Can't Come Together on Security and Privacy - and the Catastrophes That Await If We Don't (March 3, 2:50 p.m.): Security and privacy heavyweights - including former RSA chief Art Coviello, Center for Democracy & Technology head Nuala O'Connor, and Trevor Hughes, who heads the International Association of Privacy Professionals, debate privacy and security.
Going Out With Sean Penn
As in years past, the conference has also turned to a "closer" who hails from outside the security realm. This time, it's actor and director Sean Penn, who last month made headlines after secretly interviewing drug kingpin JoaquiÌn Archivaldo GuzmaÌn Loera, a.k.a. El Chapo, in October 2015, on behalf of Rolling Stone.
It's not clear if Penn's interview ultimately led to Guzman's arrest. But you can be sure it's a question Penn will get asked.