Several of the region’s most prominent experts in information security discussed the cybersecurity threat landscape that presently looms over numerous industries, such as banking, education, foodservice, government, healthcare, and telecommunications, at Niagara University’s Cybersecurity Forum, Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at 6 p.m. in the Russell J. Salvatore Dining Commons on the Niagara University campus.
Following a welcome from the Rev. James J. Maher, Niagara University president, and an introduction to Niagara University’s information security and digital forensics undergraduate and graduate programs by Dr. Petter Lovaas, associate professor of computer and information sciences, David Stender, senior vice president and chief security officer at M&T Bank, gave the keynote address. Stender has more than 30 years of government, military, and business experience developing, implementing, and leading full-scope security programs, including physical security, information security, financial crimes, and risk, on a global scale. He has extensive experience leading cutting-edge vulnerability assessments and penetration tests against national security-related networks and in managing security testing laboratories and complex networks at multiple classification levels, and is recognized as an expert in fraud, public key infrastructure, cryptography, and “Red Team” operations.
“Cybersecurity is a very interesting and misunderstood field,” Stender said. “People tend to think that it is all secret, but it is not that much different than any other field. A cybersecurity person has a tendency to like to break stuff, they like to get in and figure out how things work, and tear them apart...not necessarily just to break them, but to figure out how to make things better.
“With cybersecurity, there is the defense side and the attack side,” he continued. “You can’t defend if you can’t attack.”
A panel discussion followed the keynote address. Panelists included Jeffrey Crimmins, chief information officer and chief security officer at Freed Maxick CPAs/DataSure 24; Renita DiStefano, vice president of information technology/chief information officer at Seneca Gaming Corp.; Peter Herbsman, computer scientist with the FBI Buffalo's Cyber Task Force; Scott Morris, chief information security officer at BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York; and Anthony Sgroi, director of cybersecurity operations at M&T Bank.
The event also included a tour of Niagara University’s new cybersecurity lab. Attendees included students, practitioners, business professionals, and more.