Campus & Community

Experts talk cybersecurity at DU-hosted summit

Everything is hackable.

That’s just one of the sentiments brought forth during today’s Cybersecurity Summit hosted by the University of Denver and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS).

The international summit connected approximately 250 attendees from academia, government and business while examining critical topics on cybersecurity, from policy to industry. It was the first “Meeting of the Minds” event put on by Project X-ITE, a new cross-disciplinary initiative at DU to combine the worlds of innovation, technology and entrepreneurship.

The day included several speakers, including DU Chancellor Rebecca Chopp, UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Raj Thuppal from Shared Services Canada, a handful of cybersecurity professionals who made the trip from Israel, and CEOs of Colorado’s top cybersecurity companies.

Hickenlooper, who spent time in Israel during an economic development trip last fall, said it was important to have partners and experts from Israel at the conference as they can share a best-in-class approach to cybersecurity. Israel already has more than 430 cybersecurity companies, with about 50 new companies starting up every year. Hickenlooper wants to use some of that insight as he launches a new National Cybersecurity Intelligence Center in Colorado.

“There is no place in this country where people can come to understand cybersecurity threats,” Hickenlooper said. “We need a place where we can train people on threats, have a rapid response when there is a cybersecurity threat, and utilize research to accelerate plans into action.”

Cybersecurity threats aren’t going away, said Israel’s Menny Barzilay, CEO and chief strategist at FortyTwo. “New technology and new opportunities bring out new problems and threats,” Barzilay said. “We must ask questions, share information and not accept anything as random. Trust is something we can all create together.”

With an estimated 12,000 related job openings in Colorado, cybersecurity is one of the hottest topics for employers, but also policy makers, legislators and educators. DU’s Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science recently launched a one-year master’s degree in the field.

“Cybersecurity concerns are growing exponentially as we grow increasingly reliant on the technologies that connect people around the globe,” Chopp said at the conference. “DU can serve the public good as a platform for the broad conversation and investigation into some of the most critical topics of the day.”

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