International Cyber Defense Conference Comes To Wilmington This Week

By Audrey Elsberry, posted Jun 3, 2024
After a successful run last year, Wilmington will be the backdrop for a three-day international cybersecurity conference at the Wilmington Convention Center beginning Tuesday.
The Techno Security & Digital Forensics Conference is a comprehensive gathering of cybersecurity professionals from the public and private sectors. This year marks the conference’s 25th year of putting on the event and its second year in Wilmington. Presenters share cutting-edge research in the field, including recent case studies, which are very valuable to the audience of cybersecurity professionals, said Allison Dowd, content manager for Comexposium. Dowd’s company organized the conference.
Previously held in Myrtle Beach, the conference’s number of attendees outgrew the previous venue. The move to Wilmington was a success on multiple fronts, Dowd said.
“We found the Convention Center, and we loved it because it’s just a beautiful convention center down there, and the location on the river is fantastic, and the walkability of the city,” she said. “We had a great response last year.”
Each year, the conference is held on the East and West coasts. Organizers like to have the East Coast conference close to Washington D.C., she said, due to the composition of attendees.
“The goal is to provide technology and solutions for public and private sector audiences,” Dowd said. “So that can be law enforcement, local, federal or state. We have all the three-letter agencies attend or speak which are like FBI and DHS and Secret Service.”
The conference usually draws about 1,000 attendees, including sponsors, exhibitors and speakers, Dowd said. Last year, the conference drew an audience from 33 different countries, a return to its global reach after a lag following the pandemic.
A notable theme at this year’s conference will be how cyber defense intersects with artificial intelligence, Dowd said. The conference’s exhibits, speakers and informational sessions all feature some AI themes. The conference’s first keynote speaker, University of Louisville professor and author Roman Yampolskiy, will take a broad approach to navigating AI, and an informational session on Tuesday will broach the impact AI could have on children, digital forensics, regulation and legislation.
The University of North Carolina Wilmington will be represented at the conference by Bilge Karabacak, an assistant professor, and Bradley Hays, a police officer, leading a session about identifying USB storage device activity. Five UNCW students focused on cybersecurity are also set to attend the conference, said Ron Vetter, dean of the College of Science and Engineering.
“We love people from Wilmington to come,” Dowd said. “We haven’t developed an educational kind of mentoring program yet, but it’s in our head because we know there’s value in bringing up the next generation of students.”
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