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PHDays 8: Digital Bet

  • November 16, 2017

    Mark your calendars for the eighth annual Positive Hack Days, which will be held on May 15–16, 2018. As before, the venue will be the World Trade Center Moscow. Preparations are already in full swing as the organizers ready surprises, design the area for The Standoff, test new equipment, and fine-tune the program. For the eighth year now, we're doing things our way and staying true to the ethos of a one-of-a-kind event. This time at PHDays, the headline topic is the Digital Bet.

    Big changes are coming. Governments have bet big on data and the web. Telemedicine, online government services, remote management of transportation and industrial infrastructure, smart devices, and cryptocurrencies are all here and now. And soon these new technologies will improve the lives of people in a multitude of ways. But while the world is caught up in the excitement of this digital transformation, hackers are in the driver's seat: they get to decide who will gain from this process and who will lose out…

    What awaits us if data really does become the most valuable asset? Is there any way to stay safe in a world where life is technology-centric and the line between the real and the virtual is blurred? Can we expect electronic bliss or should we prepare for digital apocalypse? Boris Simis, Deputy CEO for Business Development at Positive Technologies, comments:

    “Today we live in a world where, for billions of people, living unconnected is unimaginable. The flow of information is now a flood. Given these facts, the transition to a digital economy is a natural one. Yet for all of the benefits, there are plenty of potential downsides. At PHDays we will demonstrate the information security issues that governments, businesses, and individuals will confront as the result of the digital bet. By looking beyond the hype, we hope to improve the quality of the conversation around security.”

    As in years past, PHDays will offer an enormous range of roundtables, hands-on labs, and demonstrations, as well as technical talks given by security experts from all over the world. Top topics on the agenda for PHDays 8 include the role of government and regulators in the e-economy, the digital wave in finance, security of critical digital infrastructure, security risk management, and physical security.

    Contests will highlight potential threats and issues in the security of today's cities (transportation, video surveillance), medicine, industry, e-government, and the Internet of Things for both home users and businesses. Contests will also probe for weaknesses in blockchains and biometric authentication.

    City warfare

    Cyberbattle between attackers and defenders has long been a crowd favorite. At PHDays 8, the organizers plan to surprise forum visitors with version 3.0 of The Standoff.

    The conflict between attackers and defenders is going to the next level. The battleground: a city whose economy is based on blockchain technology. City infrastructure includes an electrical plant and substation, railroad, energy-efficient smart homes, and banks with ATMs and self-service kiosks. And of course, what modern city would be complete without online services, mobile network operators, and the Internet? Mikhail Pomzov, a member of the PHDays organizing committee, gives a peek at what to expect:

    “The city that competitors have grown to know and love is now based on an e-economy. Infrastructure will include both vital facilities and the creature comforts to which most of us are accustomed. Lots of mock people live in our mock city: they work in offices and factories for different companies, live in modern homes, and go outdoors on the weekends. All the infrastructure is linked together in an intricate mechanism that runs like clockwork. But what happens when somebody disturbs this mechanism? We are going to shake up the format a bit. The main participants will still be defenders and attackers, but the latter may have to bone up on their defensive skills. We also plan to give participants a bit more freedom of action, such as by allowing denial of service attacks.”

    Attackers and defenders are tied so far at 1:1 in past competitions. In May, we'll know everything about this PHDays marquee event—including which of the sides will pull ahead to take the lead.

    With six months still to go till spring, it's a great time to view the best talks from PHDays VII online. Coming soon: the first Call for Papers and ticket sales. More news to come!

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