CyberUp Summit

John Sileo, cyber security expert, delivers the keynote address at the CyberUp Summit on Oct. 29 at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.

Special to the Register & Bee

“Technology has two sides: a good side, and an evil one.”

That’s according to John Sileo, a cyber security expert who delivered the keynote address at the CyberUp Summit on Oct. 29 at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. More than 100 individuals and professionals heard from Sileo and other security experts at the all-day summit presented by Averett University in partnership with the Southern Piedmont Technology Council and the Community Foundation of the Dan River Region.

“We have been wildly incentivized to focus on the good, convenient aspects of technology,” the award-winning speaker said as he recounted his personal story of a cyber attack and how he overcame the challenges that resulted. Sileo wanted participants to leave motivated and empowered to take back control of their devices and identities, and to never think identity theft and cyber breaches cannot happen to them.

“In this information economy, all technology is a major source of risk. Design security into every aspect of your technology.”

For Sileo, cyber attacks hit home in big ways, with both his personal identity and his business attacked. These crimes against him cost him precious time and money over the course of several years, and he’s hoping to impress upon others the importance of safeguarding one’s digital assets.

“This is no longer just about the security of our data; it’s about the security of your everything.”

Led by almost a dozen speakers in the industry, breakout sessions throughout the day focused on the timely topics of cyber attack recovery, identity theft prevention, social media protections and much more. Attendees were even greeted by a message from Gov. Ralph Northam, welcoming everyone and emphasizing the significance of this type of event.

“I am so thankful for our speaker, John Sileo, and for all of the wonderful breakout speakers who represented a cross-section of cyber security expertise,” said Averett University Vice President for Philanthropy Buddy Rawley. “We are also grateful for our wonderful partners at SPTC who helped plan this successful event, and of course to the Community Foundation for its investment in this timely topic.”

“Since inception, the Southern Piedmont Technology Council has been an advocate for the region’s technology investments and education,” said SPTC President Kelly Fitzgerald. “Daily we interact with internet-based devices and while they provide opportunities for efficiencies and innovation, it also presents chances for potential cyber threats that can compromise someone’s personal information. Our goal with the Summit was for attendees to walk away with tips and tools on how to be safer and more secure online.”

The Southern Piedmont Technology Council is a member-based organization consisting of technology companies and technology advocates from Southern Virginia. Its mission is to further the economic vitality of the Southern Piedmont region by developing and promoting the region’s technology resources. To learn more, visit www.sptc-va.org.

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