A Call to Cyber Security Action: Think Globally and Act Locally

  I recently visited Africa for the first time, and I was impressed. The South African government invited me to give a keynote speech at GovTech 2009 in Durban on hot cyber security trends within governments around the world. Not only was the conference impressive, I met people of different nationalities before, during and after the conference who convinced me that we have cyber allies in every corner of the globe. 

 As I think back on what I learned in South Africa, I was truly humbled by the trip. The world is a big place, and there are a lot of good things going on. America doesn't have a corner on protecting the Internet. Cyber experts: we need to think globally and act locally.

 The Govtech 2009 Conference offered speakers from Brazil to South Korea, Europe to Canada as well as many South African experts. The excitement was evident in a country that will host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. My talk covered what's hot and what's not in government cybersecurity, and you can download my powerpoint slides from their website by going to 2:45 PM on this conference portal page.

 The interesting thing is the similar technology or cyber battles that we are fighting. We all know that cybersecurity is truly a global set of problems, and the Internet knows no borders. However, we (or at least I) tend to forget that solutions can be offered from countries that go well beyond our traditional NATO supporters. For example: I heard very interesting perspectives and tactics for dealing with the Nigerian Internet scams from people who have lived in Nigeria and know these people first hand.

 I also heard some fascinating "thought-leading" approaches and case studies on identity management from countries as diverse as Austria and South Korea. (I recommend downloading those presentations as well. ) Both of those countries are well ahead of the USA in e-government adoption and secure digital identities for their citizens.

 I even met a gentleman on the flight back to the USA who described a recent Secure ICT conference in Nairobi, Kenya - of all places! This banker was working on partnerships between US and African countries on technology matters. This group plans more conferences throughout Africa in the coming years.

 Yes, we all know about excellent Israeli or European countries with cyber solutions, but who would think that the next generation of technology and security leaders may come from somewhere on the African continent or from Asia or South America. I now do.

What are your thoughts on global security trends and solutions?

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