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Programme & Speakers

Here you can read more details about the cornerstones of the programme and our keynote speakers.

 Mikko Hyppönen - Keynote

Who is Mikko Hyppönen? What does he stand for? How do security people see him? Read more about the man and his work, and an opinion from Jacob Wolf, NORDUnet Security Officer.

-               Mikko Hyppönen asks: Who will be at the front defending the world’s networks from malicious software?

-               Don’t trust a guy with a ponytail. Especially if he works with cyber security, Mikko Hyppönen once said as an opening remark at a Danish cyber security event.

In fact, and despite the ponytail, a lot of people do trust Mikko Hyppönen, when it comes to expert opinions on internet security. Just take a look at his Twitter account. 111.000 people follow his tweets concerning everything related to cyber security. Although, in October 2009, Twitter administrators temporarily closed Hyppönens account, after he had posted a link to a phishing site, as a warning to other users. Despite all this Hyppönen later has been credited by Twitter for improving Twitter’s security.

Mikko Hyppönen is the Chief Research Officer at F-Secure and has been with the company since 1991. He started programming on a Commodore 64 and has been reverse engineering malware since it was spreading on floppies.

He has fought the biggest virus outbreaks in the net, including Loveletter, Blaster, Conficker and Stuxnet. In 2003 his team was responsible for taking down the Sobig.F botnet.

Hyppönen made international news in 2011, when he travelled to Lahore, Pakistan, to track down the authors of Brain, the first PC virus in history. He produced a documentary of the event, published on YouTube.

Mikko Hyppönen is widely used in the media as an expert source, both concerning virus outbreaks and internet security in general. He has also keynoted or spoken at various conferences around the world, including Black Hat, DEF CON, DLD and RSA.

In recent years he has become increasingly concerned about American intelligence agencies cooperating closely with American technology companies. That is why Hyppönen in December 2013 cancelled his appearance at the RSA Conference 2014, reacting to a news story alleging that RSA had accepted a random number generator from the National Security Agency, and set it as the default option in one of RSA’s products, in exchange of $10 million. NSA's random number generator was found to be flawed on purpose, in effect creating a back door. RSA had kept on using the generator for years despite widespread speculation that NSA had backdoored it.

In an open letter to RSA, Mikko Hyppönen wrote:

-               Aptly enough, the talk I won't be delivering at RSA 2014 was titled "Governments as Malware Authors". I don't really expect your multibillion dollar company or your multimillion dollar conference to suffer as a result of your deals with the NSA. In fact, I'm not expecting other conference speakers to cancel. Most of your speakers are American anyway – why would they care about surveillance that's not targeted at them but at non-Americans. Surveillance operations from the US intelligence agencies are targeted at foreigners. However, I'm a foreigner. And I'm withdrawing my support from your event.

 

Later it has been revealed, that the NSA does not limit its surveillance to foreigners only. The agency is conducting widespread digital surveillance of both US citizens and anyone whose data passes through a US entity, and that it has actively sabotaged encryption algorithms.

Mikko Hyppönen has become one of the most outspoken critics of the agency's programs:

-           The two greatest tools of our time have been turned into government surveillance tools. I'm talking about the mobile phone and the internet. George Orwell was an optimist, Hyppönen said, commenting on the PRISM surveillance program, under which the NSA collects internet communications from at least nine major US internet companies.

His 2013 TED Talk entitled ”How the NSA betrayed the world’s trust” has been seen by 1.4 million people. His TED Talk ”Fighting viruses, defending the net” has been seen by almost 1.5 million people and has been translated to 38 languages.

According to Mikko Hyppönen, we need to find alternative solutions to using American companies for the world's information needs. He has pointed out several times, that neither Google or any other of the large American companies are enemies. They just want to make money. But if American authorities or the NSA try to gain access to their data, what will these companies do? As an example Hyppönen mentioned Microsoft, the American government being Microsoft's largest customer.

-         It’s nice to have you as a customer, but will you please stop hacking our systems, Hyppönen said, to illustrate this paradoxical situation.

Hyppönen asks, what's next? Who will be at the front defending the world’s networks from malicious software?

-          It's more than unsettling to realize there are governments and large companies out there developing backdoors, exploits and trojans.

So now the man, who in 2011 was included in the news publication Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers report, and has been ranked among the 50 Most Important People on the Web by PC World, is asking us all:

-               Why are we so willing to hand over digital privacy?

The title of Mikko Hyppönen's talk at the NORDUnet conference is “Securing the internet”, and Jacob Wolf, information security manager at NORDUnet, has high expectations:

-               Hyppönen is an interesting speaker. You can be sure that he has done his homework properly and that he will deliver some significant statements. It’s fascinating to learn about his team’s work in “threat intelligence”, tracking an attack right back to the source. I remember him describing some fake pharma websites being tracked all the way back to where they were sent from originally, a garage in India. For us security people it’s intriguing to try and understand the motivation behind these threats.

-               All in all, Mikko Hyppönen knows what interests his audience and he has strong views on both politics and cyber security. I can promise you, this will not be boring.

Josva Kleist, Programme Committee Member

Conference theme selected: “Securing the Internet”

The programme committee of NORDUnet 2016 has chosen “Securing the Internet” as an overall theme for the conference.

-               As always, security is a hot topic. It has become even more relevant considering recent events in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris. The debate around encryption and the right to digital privacy has flared up once again, says programme committee member Josva Kleist, Chief Development Officer at NORDUnet.

-               So, the conference theme seems to be well chosen. Several keynote speakers will address security issues. One of them we’ve announced already. It is the Finnish security expert Mikko Hyppönen, and we’ll be announcing other security keynotes in the coming months. Also, we’ve dedicated one of the conference tracks exclusively to security. We hope to cover all aspects, from technical solutions to handling security issues from an organisational point of view. Like the rest of the conference programme, the security track is still under construction, so we’d like to encourage everybody with relevant items to put in a proposal for a talk.

Alongside the Securing the Internet theme, NORDUnet 2016 is running an additional conference track focusing on networks.

Josva Kleist:

-               The NORDUnet conferences have always been known for accommodating technical topics, and we’ll continue that. Regarding the network track, we plan to cover a lot of different aspects, from implementing a wireless network at a university to network architecture on a global scale - and everything in-between.

Apart from building and maintaining research & education networks, the conference will also be showcasing new developments in e-Infrastructure and e-Learning.

Outside of the official conference programme, side meetings have always been a popular feature of the NORDUnet conference. As a novelty, it will be possible to arrange side meetings not only before and after the conference, but also during the main conference.