Cybersecurity event Oct. 4 will highlight collaboration

This October, a summit at the University of Oregon will emphasize the need for a collaborative approach to cybersecurity, as exemplified by a newly created statewide center in Oregon.

The 2023 Oregon Cyber Resilience Summit, the UO's sixth annual gathering of cybersecurity experts and practitioners, will take place Wednesday, Oct. 4, at the Erb Memorial Union. UO students, staff and faculty members can register for free.

This year's event will include a special keynote panel about the journey to create the new Oregon Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, which the Oregon legislature signed into law July 31, following concerted advocacy by a range of organizations in Oregon. The center will be operated collaboratively by the UO, Oregon State University and Portland State University.

Nancy Nathanson, state representative for the 13th District in the Oregon House of Representatives, and Reza Rejaie, a professor and head of the UO's Department of Computer Science, will speak alongside representatives of the other universities.

"This center is the culmination of several years of work by a number of stakeholders and the Legislature to address the dire need of cybersecurity challenges across the state," Rejaie said.

When it officially begins operating Oct. 1, the center is charged with providing services such as cybersecurity workforce development, advising, coordination, education, vulnerability assessments and more.

"We have local expertise at the UO and we can bring that expertise to help people," Rejaie said. "I'm excited about having a direct societal impact."

The new center exemplifies the summit's 2023 theme of building a secure community.

"No one entity can solve this problem alone," said José Domínguez, UO's interim chief information security officer. "A threat to municipal governments or hospitals or banks is also a threat to universities like the UO, so we need to work together to safeguard our digital spaces and build a secure community."

The annual summit gathers national, regional and local experts in cybersecurity to do just that. Although many attendees are technologists, Domínguez welcomes other professionals and students, such as lawyers, journalists and auditors.

This year's three-track agenda includes presentations from diverse sectors of the economy, from healthcare to port security to higher education.

The closing keynote — by Ryan Kalember, a board member at the nonprofit National Cybersecurity Alliance and executive vice president at cybersecurity company Proofpoint — will focus on undermining cybercriminals.

The summit is free for participants from the public sector, including students, staff and faculty members from universities, community colleges and high schools. The general public, including IT and cybersecurity professionals, can also attend for a $25 fee. Preregistration is recommended.

A companion event, the Oregon Cybersecurity Challenge Cup, wrapped up Sept. 22. Now in its third year, the statewide competition helps engage younger generations of Oregonians in cybersecurity.

The UO is hosting the summit in partnership with regional staff from the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Oregon Department of Justice's TITAN Fusion Center, and the Technology Association of Oregon as part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

—By Nancy Novitski, University Communications