Tuesday, October 2, 2012

September 29, 2012 CBIA Business Counterintelligence Conference, South Africa – Debrief

Our ERII advisory board member, Steve Whitehead, Managing Member of Corporate Business Insight & Awareness (CBIA) and Chairman, of Business Espionage Countermeasures South Africa (BECSA), hosted a three-day international conference on business counterintelligence at The Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge, South Africa. Situated in the Pilanesberg National Park, it is about two hours drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria and about five minutes away from the well-known Sun City complex. It is located on the slopes of an ancient volcano and is a hub of luxury in the heart of untamed wilderness making it an ideal place for high profile conferences. And let me say now, it was an absolutely fantastic selection for this conference! But, more on the Bush Lodge a little later.
Corporate Business Insight & Awareness (CBIA) is a small boutique firm that was founded during 1994 by likeminded professionals with diverse inter­disciplinary competencies to provide insight and awareness solutions through the use of competitive intelligence and counter­ intelligence as risk management tools to corporations in South Africa. CBIA is one of the World’s oldest professional information protection risk management firms.
One of the key aims of the Business Counterintelligence Conference, was to involve and to provide decision- makers, managers, business unit leaders and those responsible for the protection of information in their organizations with the insight to understand business counterintelligence and how it differs from other streams of information management practices. 
Let me say first, I have been to many counterintelligence conferences and briefings around the world (Private, Gov. & Military), but this was one of the most professionally run conferences I have ever attended! Steve (and his lovely wife Claudene) provided attendees with a truly first class conference experience. From arrival to departure, every need was met with professional excellence and true South African hospitality. It was indeed an honor to accept their invitation to represent The Espionage Research Institute International, and to endorse the Business Espionage Countermeasures Conference and Business Espionage Countermeasures South Africa (BECSA).
The conference started by providing attendees with a brief overview and introduction to information gathering techniques, its history and the practice of modern business espionage. And, was followed by practical and effective countermeasures practices, policies, procedures and technical support systems. Examples from case studies were used to analyze the implications of events and the lessons learned for today’s corporate challenges. Below is a brief overview of of the presentation highlights from The Business Counterintelligence Conference.
Steve Whitehead – Managing Member, CBIA and BECSA Chairman, gave the opening and welcome presentation: “What is Counterintelligence and How Can Business Benefit?” This presentation covered, What is Counterintelligence?, The Differences Between Counterintelligence, Security and Other Information Protection Disciplines, Passive and Active Counterintelligence Pillars for Businesses, How Counterintelligence Supports Management and Business Information. This was an excellent presentation, and was well received by the participants at this full conference.
David G. Major – President, Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies – CI Centre, Washington DC, USA. Gave the Keynote Address: “Importance and Value of Counterintelligence in the Business World”. An articulate presentation covering: corporate globalization, worldwide economic instability, governments on the verge of collapse, turmoil in the Middle East, insecurity over oil supplies and aggressive competitors. Each creates a challenging threat environment for today’s business executive. Mr. Major outlined the breadth and the depth of the global threat environment to corporations with facts, figures and strategies for success. 
Professor Basie Von Solms – University of Johannesburg and Director of the Centre for Cyber Security, presented on “The Evolving Cyber Threat Against Business Information”. This presentation covered: Newest Statistics on Cyber Crime in SA, Small Companies as a Growing Target for Cyber Attacks, The Potential Impact of the Protection of Personal Information Bill on Companies, The Potential Impact of the New SA Cyber Security Policy Framework on Companies, Cyber Risks Caused by Off-the-Shelf Infected Hardware and Software, and The Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime.
Pete Denson – TSCM Specialist, Research Electronics International (REI), presented on “Telephone Insecurities in the Business Environment” Mr. Denson’s presentation covered Telephone Components, Various Telephone Systems, Telephone Vulnerabilities, and Modern Telephone Attacks Solutions.
I (JDL) presented on “The Dragon in the Machine – A Case Study of Nation State Corporate Espionage.” This presentation covered: Factors that Influence State Sponsored Corporate Espionage, Internal Vulnerabilities that Contribute to Penetration;, Undetected Exploitation: Disguising the Threat, Incidence Response, Covert Cyber Espionage, and Multi-National Espionage Risks.
There were so many excellent presentations over the three-day conference! Below are additional conference presenters:
Christopher Shear – Office of Information Security, City of Seattle, USA
Andrew Seldon – Editor, Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Jenny Reid – CEO, iFacts and President of SASA
Dr George Nel – CEO, Paradigm Alpha and Behavioural & Communication Intelligence Specialist
Steve Jump – Head: Corporate Information Security Governance, Telkom SA Ltd 
Craig Rosewarne – Managing Director, Wolfpack Risk and Chairman of ISG Africa
Andrea Muller – Editor, Security Focus Magazine Peter Fryer – CEO, Risk Diversion 
Peter Fryer – CEO, Risk Diversion 
There was also plenty of time to relax and network during the cocktail functions and dinner in the evenings at the lodge. As well as other lodge activities such as the “Game Drive” that my wife Lisa & I enjoyed one afternoon, and a South African “Braai” (barbeque) out in the bush the next evening. Absolutely Fantastic!
This is a very “compartmented” debrief, and in no way covers all of the South African hospitality, excellence and fun experienced during this trip! So, colleagues please set your alerts and mark your calendars now to attend this excellent conference next year! It is truly a first class professional counterintelligence conference you won’t want to miss. 
For more information on the conference, contact:

Steve Whitehead, Managing Membersteve@cbia.co.zaCorporate Business Insight & Awareness (CBIA) http://www.cbia.co.za
Business Espionage Countermeasures South Africa (BECSA) Steve Whitehead, Chairmanhttp://www.becsa.co.za
Eavesdropping Detection Solutions: http://www.tscm-za.com steve@tscm-za.com
End debrief.
--J.D. LeaSure, Director
Espionage Research Institute International (ERII) 
4445 Corporation Lane Suite 291C. Virginia Beach, VA 23462 USA

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