Ground Zero Summit 2013: Asia’s largest Information Security conference, launched

InformationWeek, August 9, 2013

Held from November 7th to 10th 2013, the summit is spread over four days and is the result of a first of a kind public-private collaboration in the information security domain in India

India has been a frequent victim of cyber intrusions by neighboring states, as a recent media report by a leading channel reveals. China has repeatedly mounted cyber-attacks on Indian websites through its cyber warfare army, a clear indication of how cyber war is emerging as the 5th domain of warfare.

To tackle this domain the Government today needs about 5, 00,000 information security professionals to combat the sophisticated cyber security threats that the country is facing, as laid out by National Cyber Security Policy 2013. However, according to EC-Council, a professional certification body, India is unlikely to meet this target in next five years due to lack of infrastructure and investment.

In a bid to create information security awareness, share updates on the ground realities and bring in talented information security professionals from across India under one central platform; five major cyber security conferences in the region viz. nullcon, Malcon, c0c0n, OWASP and ClubHack in collaboration with industry and government today officially launched the Ground Zero Summit 2013, positioned as Asia’s premiere cyber security conclave.

The summit will be conducted between November 7th to 10th  2013 in New Delhi, spread over four days with a two day technical conference, followed by two days of hands-on technical workshops on information security. The summit will be executed by UBM India Pvt Ltd., a leading player in the live media space and the largest trade exhibition organizer in India responsible for over 20 large scale exhibitions.

Expert Consultants from the industry present at the conference, including, Dhruv Soi, Chairperson, OWASP India;. Thomas Kurian Ambattu, VP, Information Security Research Association (ISRA); . Aseem Jakhar, Director, Research, Payatu Technologies Pvt. Ltd.; . Rajshekhar Murthy, Director, CERT-ISAC, National Security Database; . Rohit Srivastwa, Founder, ClubHack; and . Tarun Wig, Founder, Innefu.

Appreciating the initiative, Capt P Raghu Raman, CEO, NATGRID said, “Such conferences provide great opportunity for the different stakeholders in the field of information security i.e. Business leaders, IT and InfoSec professionals, policy and perspective planners and the citizens – the opportunity to understand each other’s point of view and pool their intellect & resources to formulate a comprehensive security posture. This is essential, because if these stakeholders don't combine together, then the attackers will take them apart piecemeal.” 

Talking about the key focus of this Summit, Rohit Srivastwa, Founder, ClubHack  said, “Just like Government built and nurtured Air Force, Navy and Army, today there is a strong need to build a strong team of cyber security warriors who specialize in defending the national properties from cyber threats. Through Ground Zero Summit, we want bring together government bodies under one roof and share with them the real picture of cyber security and the vulnerabilities at the national level and how we can step in, collaborate with them and help them to tackle these critical issues.” 

Industry Expert, Aseem Jhakar, Founder, nullcon Security Conference “The original idea of Ground Zero has come from Government Departments, police and defence departments who felt that there is a strong need today to bring to the table a central platform where all these bodies can gather under the same roof and understand the various ways in which cyber security needs to be addressed and update their own understanding about the national security threats.” 

“Our vision at the InfoSec Consortium is to guide the development of next generation cyber security policies and technology to bring about changes in the current process, involve all affected industries and form the largest PPP in this domain.  We see the Ground Zero Summit as the first initiative towards that vision. In my understanding I see it as the largest collaborative platform in Asia or the world where different conferences within the country have joined hands to create a massive platform for cyber security research, technology showcase and policy creation and amendments,” Jhakar adds.

Commenting on the alliance, Rajshekhar Murthy, Director, CERT-ISAC, National Security Database said, “Information Security is a growing concern we are pleased at the exceptional show of association between the Ground Zero Summit and the National Security Database. We are excited about taking this unique collaboration forward with an aim to create a premiere platform for information security in the region.”

Joji George, Managing Director, UBM India said, “We are proud to be partners to Asia's largest cyber security conclave, The Ground Zero Summit, which promises to be the most influential platform for promoting cyber resilience and awareness in the region. We are certain that Ground Zero Summit will establish itself as a benchmark forum in information security, which is the need of the industry.” 

The Information Security Consortium, the independent apex body organizing the Ground Zero Summit 2013, also released a research report in collaboration with CERT-ISAC and NTRO at the press conference, which outlines the dangers Indian IT infrastructure is facing, with research proving that the Indian government and critical infrastructure are targets of sophisticated attacks. The report talks about an overview of malware distribution in Indian Cyberspace; in-depth and detailed technical analysis of Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) actors against India and finally recommendations to improve and protect the overall Critical Information Infrastructure.
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