InfoSec Europe 2022: Cars & Coffee Edition

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InfoSec Europe 2022: Cars & Coffee Edition

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The last time InfoSec Europe happened in London, the world was a simpler place: There was no pandemic, Boris Johnson was just about to become Prime Minister and I hadn’t finished my undergraduate degree! In 2019 the security industry was booming, and exhibitors were throwing around t-shirts and coffee cups to win over your attention, but if you thought that was the height of “who had the biggest marketing budget”, you would be as mistaken as I was.  

Enter InfoSec 2022, the epic return with bigger marketing budgets and a bigger venue, the ExCel Centre! The industry was in full form, with more names than ever showing their smiley, sales-y faces, and my main first-world disappointment was the lack of t-shirts! The moment you walk in you’re shocked by the presence of F1 cars and most of the larger stalls had a barista on-hand to woo you over with an oat flat white. By the end of it, I walked out with a hat, two frisbees, a few pens, a stress ball, a bubble popper, some lanyards, a pen-sized hand sanitiser bottle, a multi-port charger, a set of metal ring puzzles, only one t-shirt and what would’ve been a pair of Beats if I guessed a 4-digit code! 

Imaginative Software at InfoSec Europe

So why did I go? My role in Imaginative Software alongside being a Software Engineer is to be our in-house cyber security specialist. I wanted to visit InfoSec to keep myself up to date with the current trends in the security industry after not going for the last couple of years because… You know, the virus. In any industry, going to conventions not only allows predominantly straight white businessmen to conduct business, but also keeps us informed about the current advances, trends, and gaps in the industry. In the field of cyber security, the big trend this year was certainly services geared towards automation, and there was a distinct lack of in-person services. It feels like every suit and their trusty sidekick was trying to sell you software and cloud services that will automate anything from identity and access management, email filtering, and even your coffee. Well, the coffee part was perhaps the onslaught of baristas present at the event. 

Elliot stood smiling at infosec europe 2022 convention

The silver bullet of information security

In all seriousness, the most popular service offered was automation in at least one domain of cyber security, what worries me is that many CEOs and big buyers will show up hoping to find a ‘silver bullet’ solution that will solve their security stresses. This makes my inner security consultant worried, in the practice of cyber security, technology only goes as far as the people using it. Many security experts including myself love to throw around the statistic that 80-90% (depending on who and when you ask) of data breaches are caused by the human factor – phishing emails being the biggest cause. Now, how many services prevent this? Maybe some will use a super cool advanced AI that spots a phishing scam in an employee’s inbox, however, that only works most of the time. I like to argue the most important part of security are the people behind the screen: you!  

This is where my issue with this kind of event comes to fruition, I didn’t see many faces offering in-person services: Consultancy, management, staff and awareness training. It really feels like too many cyber security businesses have got the wrong idea, rather than focussing on improving the people that make security work, they instead are obsessed with software that utilises the best buzzwords so they bring in the most revenue. 

Regardless, I had a lot of fun at InfoSec Europe. The first time I went, I was a mere undergrad about to embark on my master’s in Cyber Security. Now I’ve got two degrees, Boris Johnson just quit, and I have a year’s experience in consulting. It’s needless to say I have a much different lens on the industry. I’ll certainly go again, this time hopefully for multiple days so I get to see some of the talks… There’s certainly not enough time in one day to check out all the stands AND see some of the speakers who had something more valuable to give me than a frisbee and a beer. 

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