Media headlines nowadays are peppered with news of security breaches and incidents involving critical infrastructure in all types of organisations, ranging from companies and hospitals to schools.

The internet can be compared to an intricate web of roads on a global scale with a set of common traffic rules to manage the network. Hackers are people who try to break through the defence of a specific network and exploit vulnerabilities in a computer system. Given the increasing frequency and accuracy of such cyberattacks, implementing a solid cybersecurity strategy is critical.

The circa 200 delegates who attended the second conference on cyber security recently organised by the eSkills Malta Foundation at the Corinthia Palace Hotel and Spa, Attard, was evidence of the increased importance being given by all to this security issue. The conference was well received  and exceeded the expectations of the audience.

The conference was held in partnership with information security consultant and court expert Keith Cutajar, the Malta Information and Technology Agency, the University of Malta, the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA), Cyber Security Malta and the Chartered Institute for IT (BCS). It featured talks by prominent personalities in the field, including Ian Fish from BCS, Jean Michel Azzopardi from Kralanx, Donatas Mažeika from Europol, and Mark Vella and Christian Colombo from the University of Malta. 

Ian Fish spoke about the pros and cons of security management.  This process starts with the identification of an organisation’s assets, including its people, buildings, machines, systems and information. It is followed by the development, documentation and implementation of policies and procedures to protect these assets.

Jean Michel Azzopardi, in collaboration with a remote speaker, spoke about the importance of offensive security and penetration testing. He gave an eye-opening presentation on the evolution of ransomware, its risks and some guidance on how to avoid them.

Given the increasing frequency and accuracy of cyberattacks, implementing a solid cybersecurity strategy is critical

Donatas Mažeika’s presentation created a lot of interest due to Europol’s very central role on the subject of cybersecurity. He​  tackled the importance of incident handling and digital forensics. The latter is the collection and examination of digital evidence residing on electronic devices and the subsequent response to threats and attacks.

The two speakers from the University of Malta highlighted some of the projects they are involved in, in collaboration with other partners. Mark Vella spoke about collecting lawful evidence and the importance of continuously developing and updating platforms as EU-wide automated case management for cybercrime. Meanwhile, Christian Colombo talked about an interesting project the university is involved in that deals with the Security Cryptographic Protocol Execution based on runtime verification.

This was followed by a panel discussion by representatives of  PwC, ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association), the University of Malta, Mcast and MITA chaired by eSkills Malta Foundation chief administrator Carm Cachia. It discussed  the importance, training and continuous upskilling in the area of cybersecurity notwithstanding the small Maltese ICT sector. Cybersecurity is included in the current curriculums of relevant University of Malta and Mcast courses as well as the most popular ISACA certifications taken in Malta.

This was followed by three parallel workshops on the themes of Security of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), moderated by the MDIA and the Police Cybercrime Unit; Security of Internet of Things, moderated by MITA; and AI in Security, moderated by the MDIA, the University of Malta and the Police Cybercrime Unit.  An overview of the main points of interest and outcomes from each workshop followed.

The conference was concluded by Keith Cutajar and Carm Cachia.

The conference was also supported and sponsored by the MDIA, Cybersecurity Malta, PwC Malta, Melita Data Centre and EY Malta.

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