I’m sitting in for Joe, because he’s running the ACS Conference

so am I, ...and I’ll be blogging about it for the next couple of days, but I’ll be simul-blogging on SoundOff as well. The over 100 attendees of the conference heard a video keynote from Congressman James Langevin, (D) Rhode Island. Congressman Langevin urged the attendees to take back to their CEOs and managers his message: cybersecurity is an important issue and must be treated that way. “I hope that we can all get our egos out of the way and work together on this,” he said. Ironically, as Conference chair Joe Weiss pointed out, the two agencies who are not attending the conference are the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy. This reporter wonders why, when Congress clearly believes that working together is essential to the security of the nation, why DHS and DOE appear to be unwilling to do that. Unwilling to the extent of apparently deliberately scheduling the resuscitated PCSF conference to compete with this one. I thought there was some kind of law that says that government agencies shouldn’t compete with private enterprise, like the ACS Conference. I will be attending PCSF also. I was offered the choice of registering as “press” or as a “consultant” under my alter ego, Spitzer and Boyes LLC. As “press” I will not be able to attend two sessions at PCSF. Even though I sit on ISA99 and was one of the founders of the ISCI, and have been a PCSF member for several years...I am now told that I am not trusted by my government. What a shame. Walt Boyes

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  • Interesting point, Walt. I am seeing that “I hope that we can all get our egos out of the way and work together on this,” is an important message. That being said, why are you upset that you cannot see a forum that is not allowing press? If we all leave our egos at the door, do you not agree that playing by the rules is best for everyone? I am sure the issue is not a personal one, and I am sure the Gov't trusts you just fine.I am sure you can think of alot of reasons why press would not be allowed into a session, regardless of how awesome or influential you may be. Rules are rules.

    And I think you are a bit wrong suggetsing that government agencies can get so organizaed that they can shuffle a major conference around just to 'compete' with a smaller security event. You give them too much credit maybe? I would hazard a guess and think that they my be a little too busy, and I am also assuming there is not much happening here at the ACS event that they do not know about anyhow.

    What _is_ a shame is that over the last several years (in the control systems security space) the press in general really have done a very poor job of building trust. Wrong names, running stories on false data and FUD, and using totally non-credible sources just to get something in print. Too many folks hopping on the bandwagon to get some of the spotlight. Now that is a shame, right?

    ONix

    Reply

  • Good question, ONix. The answer is that I've been attending PCSF as a full participant, for years, and only secondarily as a member of the press. I am an ISA Fellow, a member of SP99, and one of the original group that founded the ISCI. I'd been a contributing member of PCSF. Last year, they decided to allow the press in, and didn't restrict meetings.

    What bothered me was that they would admit me as a full participant, if I pretended that I wasn't the editor of Control magazine, and came in my alter-ego of one of the principals of Spitzer and Boyes LLC, a strategic and technical consulting firm. It's a real company, and I really am a principal there...but the whole thing is silly-stupid.

    Isn't _my_ ego, really.

    And as for the shuffling about bit, when Joe and I scheduled the ACS conference this year, PCSF had been entirely de-funded and was effectively dead. They had to hold a conference and I suppose they just accidentally picked the period two weeks after the ACS conference, and then high DHS and DOE officials ordered their personnel not to attend the ACS conference. (This we can prove.)

    And yes, the mainstream press doesn't yet understand cybersecurity, but I think you are wrong if you think that the trade press doesn't. We generally hire subject matter experts. For example, I put in my first SCADA system in 1976, and have been a vendor, system integrator, field engineer and journalist.

    And if PCSF were distributing classified information in those sessions, then they'd be closed to people without clearances. And that's not the case.

    Frankly, I don't care. I'll be briefed anyway.

    Reply

  • As much as we try, the egos and hard heads are a fact of life. Until a critical mass of experts form, we'll continue to see many "leaders" go leading in different directions.

    The result will be confusion and incoherent groups trying to get on top of this steaming heap of a problem. The solution is to train more people until the public itself can make up its mind. Until then, we're going to burdened with silliness like this...

    Jake Brodsky

    Reply

  • -sigh-

    Walt, being an ISA Fellow is great, but I am not sure if your recognition has anything to do with security so that is not going to make a difference. Yes, ISA and the SP99 group do much good for cyber security, but I think it is safe to say that your credentials (although impressive) do not really put you in the realm of other cyber secruity experts in the domain or recognized 'researchers'. As for PCSF not letting you in as a consultant, well that is odd and I do not understnd it. We are all press these days, as most of the community has blogs and other writing ventures. But, you are not known as a consulant as much as a Sci_fi writer who edits an online magazine during the day. Maybe people are not buying the consulting tag?

    I agree with your point about trade magas, they do get it but only slightly more than mainstream press. However, we have very good writers here in California who have been covering this for a while and do a very good job.

    And as far as PCSF goes, I am glad you do not care. I am sure you will be briefed...most likely by someone in the room who will tell you after it is over. They will disclose what was said to you, no doubt. I hope you do not report on what you hear as that will be second hand information, will it not? I think that reporting on second-hand informaton can impede the mitigation of many of the issues we face in the cyber secruity domain. I am looking for some good reporting coming out of PCSF as I will not be there.

    ONix

    Reply

  • I don't claim to be a security researcher...but I have a deep and abiding, and long-term interest in security.

    Thanks for trivializing what I do at Control by noting the Sci-Fi connection. I am a published SF writer, yes. But if you look on Amazon, you will mostly find that I write hard technology.

    I may not even be able to attend PCSF, as it turns out, because I have the largest magazine in the process control space to edit, and it isn't done for the month.

    And as far as the consultant tag is concerned, Spitzer and Boyes very quietly does some pretty sophisticated consulting (not in the security space-- remember, I didn't claim to be a security researcher) that I participate in when I can.

    Reply

  • Further comment, ONix:

    They WOULD let me in as a consultant. They would even let me into the closed sessions. I just had to pay the fee.

    I thought about it, and decided pretending to be there from Spitzer and Boyes was unethical, and didn't do it.

    Reply

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