Education is Crucial for Cybersecurity

The second annual QuBit Conference, one of the leading events on cybersecurity which brought together the world’s leading experts, was held on February 7 in Metropol Palace Hotel in Belgrade.

The day before, training sessions on Hacking & defending against hackers and Cryptography were held. Participants of the workshops could see, how the cyber hacking looks like in practice and how to protect against them.

QuBit Conference Belgrade 2019 was organized with the support of the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Belgrade, and one of the media partners was eKapija. This event helps to spread awareness on cyber security and available IT tools, already used by more than two billion people worldwide. The event brought the latest information to the cyber security community. 

“We are very satisfied with the conference in Belgrade. We see a great potential in cybersecurity, but also in people here, because I think they are highly educated and professional. This is our second annual conference and for now we are not trying to achieve huge numbers. The focus is on the quality rather than the quantity. The mix of people and their level of expertise is very high and we are very satisfied with that.” – Maria Kalicakova, CEO and co-founder of the QuBit Conference said in an eKapija interview. 

She pointed out that as organizers from the very beginning, they noticed that there was a need and hunger for an educational gathering on cyber security. 

“We have been organizing conferences in Central Europe for six years and three years ago, at a conference in Prague, we had participants from Serbia who were very pleased and invited us to come to Belgrade to make a similar conference. So we started” explains eKapija’s interlocutor. 

According to Mrs. Kalicakova, QuBit is known for its educational content and does not allow marketing presentations. She believes that this is probably the highest value of the conference and reason why people are returning again. 

“It was demanding to come here and gather people because the cybersecurity community was relatively closed and it was necessary to make connections to enter that circle. When we succeeded, then people started to be open minded and interested in the topic.”

The QuBit conference features a combination of technical and practical skills. From the beginning, ISACA and E-sigurnost have been partners of the conference.

Other local partners include Asseco SEE and Comtrade. They carefully choose and establish long-term partnerships, said Maria Kalicakova.

Stefan Petrusevski is a senior cyber security engineer in the Dutch bank ING and one of the speakers at this year’s conference in Belgrade. It was his first time on QuBit Conference and says the organization was excellent.

“I presented how we fight the DDoS attacks in the Netherlands. We are constantly developing software and looking for a way to protect ourselves, as cyber threats are constantly here, and the number of attacks depends on the time of the year and on the political situation. It is interesting to see that last year we had 30 major attacks we had to react to, that demanded additional manual work.”, Petrusevski says.

In an interview for eKapija, he pointed out that end users are safe, but also that they can not do much to protect themselves, as they are part of an infrastructure, and the applications and network is operated by a bank.

Overall, I think the maturity of companies and users in Western and Southeastern Europe is quite different. Education plays a big role here and the western countries are more advanced. People can be the weakest or strongest link in the cyber security chain. When we get to the point where people are the strongest link, we have done a good job. However, education must be continuous – Stefan concludes.

Tino Sokic is CEO and ICT Security Solution Engineer at CNV-IBIS and one of the co-owners of the largest educational portal on technology in the Balkans – His presentation on QuBit had the title “Ignorance as a Service” and within it, he presented the habits of IT users in the Balkans, gathered from the experience from the portal.

“The conference is really great and bring all of us who are “on the ground” and talk about relevant things. The cyber attacks can cause serious financial damage, so it is important to have such events and exchange knowledge” says Sokic.

He points out that the portal is known in the region to provide knowledge about technology and informatics for free. Unfortunately, the statistics from this portal show that people do not care much about their cyber security.

There certainly is danger in the cyberspace, but there are also lots of people dealing with cyber security who do their job very well and share their knowledge.

All-day QuBit Conference Belgrade 2019, brought together 80 leading managers, experts and engineers from the field of cyber security, as well as 12 speakers and number of practical examples were presented. 

“We want to return to Belgrade next year and we would definitely like to include more local associates. If you want to know what people need and what they lack in a particular sector, you need to be present on the spot. Certainly, we would like to bring the best speakers, local and international, and to achieve our mission to connect East and West” announces Maria Kalicakova.


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