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Top experts speak on cyberthreats in the 21st century

Author: Communications

Posted on Sep 29, 2016

Category: UNB Fredericton

Warren McKenzie and Dermot Williams

Warren McKenzie and Dermot Williams

A top expert on cybersecurity from the United Kingdom took part in a session on UNB's Fredericton campus this weekend examining cyberthreats in the 21st century.

Dermot Williams, CEO of the IT security firm Threatscape and a frequent commentator on the field in the media, participated in the Cybersecurity in a Dangerous Time panel.

WATCH: UNB event stresses urgency on cyber security (Global News) 

“At the speed that cyber moves, taking hours or days to respond to a cyberthreat is just too damn slow,” says Mr. Williams. “They can steal your data, your money, your secrets and you’re out of business in minutes.”

The session, led by high-profile UNB alumnus Dr. Warren McKenzie, examined the rising tide of threats in our increasingly connected world. The panel included several other leaders in the cybersecurity sphere:

  • Dr. Ali Ghorbani, Canada Research Chair in Cybersecurity and dean of the faculty of computer science at UNB;
  • Sandy Bird, chief technology officer with IBM Security Systems and co-founder of Q1 Labs;
  • Dr. Christian Couturier, senior executive partner with Gardner Inc.; and
  • A representative of CyberNB.

The executives addressed topics around future cybersecurity issues for business, cybersecurity initiatives at UNB as well as the drive for growth in IT and cybersecurity in New Brunswick.

LISTEN: Cybersecurity tips and opportunities (CBC Shift - NB)

Mr. Williams says there is great potential in New Brunswick to build on its cybersecurity expertise.

“If you come out with the right idea in security, you go from naught to 60 in no time because there is this massive appetite to be ahead of the bad guys and have the latest technology,” says Mr. Williams. “You’ve already tapped into that appetite with Q1 Labs.”

Q1 Labs, started by Mr. Bird, Brian Flood and other UNB students in the late 1990s who had developed network intrusion technology, was purchased by IBM in a blockbuster acquisition in 2011.

“The fact that we were able to bring together such an impressive lineup for this event speaks volumes about the reputation and the leadership that New Brunswick and UNB enjoy in cybersecurity,” says Dr. McKenzie. “People are paying attention.”

UNB boasts a number of Canadian firsts in the information technology sector, including the first department of computer science, the first to provide students with email addresses and the first to have a regional computer network. 

Media contact: David Stonehouse