Google’s D.C. Headquarters Hosts V4 Cybersecurity Conference
By Laura Spitalniak
The Visegrad Four countries — the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia — partnered with Google for a V4 Cybersecurity Conference under the We4Startups brand on March 7. Embassies from the four Central European states promoted companies in their respective nations that have developed innovative technologies, including techniques for hacking prevention, at Google’s D.C. headquarters off Massachusetts Avenue, NW.
Panels also explored trends in cybersecurity, including cyber-related legislation, the U.S.-EU cyber agenda and cybersecurity as a driving force for innovation and entrepreneurship. Speakers included Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) and Jadwiga Emilewicz, undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Economic Development in Poland, which currently holds the V4 presidency.
Google hosted a V4 Cybersecurity Conference highlighting companies from the Visegrad Four countries — the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia — at its D.C. headquarters. Photo: Embassy of Hungary.
Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and an informal cybersecurity advisor for the Trump White House, made a surprise appearance during the event’s opening remarks. He spoke to attendees about protecting organizations from outside threats and attacks, calling Google “a leader in this respect.”
“You’re being attacked thousands of times. The question is, ‘Are you being breached?’” Giuliani said.
From left, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Czech Embassy Zdenek Beranek; Ambassador of the Slovak Republic Peter Kmec; Ambassador of Hungary Réka Szemerkényi; Ambassador of Poland Piotr Wilczek; Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Polish Undersecretary of State for Economic Development Jadwiga Emilewicz attend the V4 Cybersecurity Conference. Photo: Embassy of Hungary.
Giuliani said that getting ahead of attacks can prevent a data breach. He recommended individual identity protection for every employee in addition to hiring outside companies to run test attacks as a mean of finding potential vulnerabilities in security.
“The second an employee's identity is used improperly, the company finds out and you can cure the breach right away,” said Giuliani.
He also advised the audience to keep an eye on advancements in login security, especially regarding regeneration passwords.
“There are several companies that are working on technology that will change this without disruption on an almost minute-by-minute basis,” Giuliani said. “I would say that technology is a few years off, but these are things you have to look at.”
One company, XS Matrix Security Solutions, also discussed common ways that hackers and viruses are able to penetrate computer systems. Peter Gyenese, the director of business development for the company, cited one of the most common problems he’s encountered in security breaches: login privileges that have never been retracted from people who should not have them because they’re no longer with the organization.
“What if there is a temporary person taking over the role of the secretary? The access will probably stay there [once that person leaves],” Gyenese pointed out.
He emphasized the importance of constantly revising access rights to prevent breaches.
“If you don’t have an up-to-date work chart, you don’t know who is who,” he said. “It raises a lot of issues.”
Panels at the V4 Cybersecurity Conference explored trends in cybersecurity, including cyber-related legislation, the U.S.-EU cyber agenda and cybersecurity as a driving force for innovation and entrepreneurship. Photo: Embassy of Hungary.
That’s the type of work XS Matrix specializes in.
“We check who should access what and make sure nobody has access they shouldn’t,” he explained. “It’s really key to have to appropriate access. The question is, ‘Do you really need specific access to perform your job?’”
Overall, Gyenese recommended analyzing company basics that tend to get overlooked.
“Take a look at what you have, secure it, maximize it,” he said, “and you will be one step further in achieving higher security levels.”
Laura Spitalniak is an editorial intern for The Washington Diplomat.