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Cryptography gives SA international presence

16 May 2007 News

South African IT security expertise was on the world stage in April when local security expert Dino Covotsos gave a presentation on cryptographic applications at a hacking and network security conference in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

South African IT security expertise was on the world stage in April when local security expert Dino Covotsos gave a presentation on cryptographic applications at a hacking and network security conference in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Covotsos is MD of Telspace, a Johannesburg-based company specialising in managed security services. "Never before has it been easier to implement and utilise strong cryptography," he says. "The increasing need for privacy on an individual, corporate and government level is creating a growing market for easy-to-use cryptographic software."

In his presentation Covotsos exposed various misconceptions about cryptographic software. Issues covered included vendor/proprietary algorithms, key generation, randomisation, cipher modes and secure storage and transmission. He also revealed secrets of how to circumvent cryptographic software protection mechanisms.

The conference, 'HITBSecConf2007 - Dubai', was the first deep-knowledge security conference to be held in the UAE. The event featured over 20 of the world's leading network security specialists, who covered topics ranging from vulnerability assessment to new attack vectors, defence methodologies and the latest computer and network security technologies.

The event was endorsed by the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). It was also attended by representatives of many major companies in the Middle East, whom, according to Covotsos, were very willing to not only learn about IT security but also to take action on this front.

Says Covotsos: "The bigger picture is IT security. We were very privileged to be chosen to present there. It is a great opportunity to gain knowledge and network and we are one of the few local IT security companies invited to present at overseas conferences."

Covotsos chose the topic of cryptography because it is an issue that often crops up in the penetration tests that Telspace performs for its clients. "Many of the companies where we do testing do not make use of cryptographic applications, so we wanted to share our insights on the usefulness of cryptographic methodologies," he relates.

"The event raised the profile of the South African IT security sector internationally", says Covotsos, "It was a fantastic conference. It could not have been organised better nor had more of an impact. The speakers were great and their knowledge of security issues was top notch. I learnt a lot and we can now pass on this knowledge to our South African clients."





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