Ethical hacker, FBI cyber specialist to present at upcoming cybersecurity event

March 1, 2018

This piece is presented by SDN Communications.

They scheme. They plot. They’re determined to gain full access to a facility. And the companies they target are the ones hiring them to do it.

Redteam Security employs teams of ethical hackers. The company in St. Paul provides services to test the security of networks, applications, people and facilities. You can watch them in action in a 16-minute video on YouTube that’s more compelling than most TV dramas.

It documents their attempts to break into a power cooperative’s facilities somewhere in the Midwest. But the end goal is far less malicious: to test and help improve the company’s security practices. Spoiler alert: Without causing any serious damage, team members rather easily broke into multiple facilities over three days and achieved full access to — and potential control of — the company’s electrical grid.

The video by Tech Insider that documents one of the Redteam’s exploits has been viewed more than 5.4 million times in less than two years.

One of its stars, Ryan Manship, will be a featured speaker at a high-level, regional cybersecurity conference March 27 at the Holiday Inn City Centre. He’s giving the afternoon keynote address.

Another featured expert at the Sioux Falls Cybersecurity Conference also will bring unique and fascinating national experience to the event. FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jay Patel is a top cybersecurity official. His morning keynote is a briefing on hacking as a service.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce are co-hosting the conference, which is designed to help businesses in a multistate area improve their online security.

What: Sioux Falls Cybersecurity Conference
When: March 27, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Cost: $75

To register, click here.

SDN Communications is the event’s top sponsor. The telecommunications company is a regional leader in providing broadband connectivity and cybersecurity services to businesses and other organizations.

Malicious hacking has become so pervasive that no business is completely safe — not even companies that seem to do everything right, said Vernon Brown, vice president of marketing and community relations at SDN. So companies that have been victims of cyber intrusions should not be reluctant to step forward and seek help, he said.

“We have to get over this sense of shame for being hit because any business can be hit,” Brown said.

Emerging threats and the need for businesses of all sizes to be vigilant and have a protection plan will be among the points discussed by Patel, according to the chambers of commerce.

Manship said companies often have assumptions about their level of security but don’t test them and their expectations often prove to be inaccurate.

Statistically, people are the weakest link in most businesses’ security strategies, he said. In almost every one of the Redteam’s test intrusions, crew members were able to talk a target company employee into doing something that he or she shouldn’t do, such as provide access to a building or network.

“Social engineering is nearly always successful to some degree,” Manship said.

The most encouraging moment in the YouTube video comes when a suspicious co-op supervisor denies building access to members of the hacker team. They had presented themselves to the receptionist as tech workers wanting to test the company’s internet speed.

However, obstacles such as barbed-wire fences, locked doors, surveillance equipment and computer rooms posed little challenge.

Redteam Security, founded in 2008, is a small, flexible business with nine employees.

The company’s flagship service, called “red teaming,” simulates an attack to help the client identify security vulnerabilities. Manship will recount some of the company’s experiences in his presentation at the Sioux Falls Cybersecurity Conference.

In the meantime, check out the video about the Redteam. You’re likely to conclude, as Tech Insider did in making the video, that companies definitely need to step up their game in the fight against cyberattackers.

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Ethical hacker, FBI cyber specialist to present at upcoming cybersecurity event

A high-level, regional cybersecurity conference comes to Sioux Falls this month.

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