Brazil Hosts Unprecedented Cyberdefense Event
By Taciana Moury/Diálogo April 23, 2018Cyberdefense will be the subject of an unprecedented event held in Brasília, April 23rd-26th. Brazil Cyber Defence, the nation's first cybercommunications and electronic warfare expo, will promote the discussion of defense and security issues among Brazil’s Armed Forces and public security services. Industry sectors, academia, and civil and government institutions will address the importance of building public awareness on cyberdefense, cybersecurity, communications, and electronic warfare.
According to Rogério Gomes da Costa, CEO of Prospectare Brasil, the consultancy that organizes and hosts the event, Brazil Cyber Defence is already off to a big start and should attract about 1,000 people a day. “We have a single market with respect to cyberspace: first, on account of Brazil's continental size and number of people connected to the Internet; and second, due to a lack of awareness from government, businesses, and the end user around the importance of cybersecurity,” Costa explained.
According to a 2017 e-commerce report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Brazil counts with about 120 million Internet users, placing the country in fourth place in the global ranking. “The increase in cyberthreats and the existing vulnerabilities of network and information systems demand actions to safeguard the nation's capabilities and those of other parts of the government,” Costa said. The threats, he added, can compromise the government’s critical information assets and strategic structures, and directly impact national security.
In the four-day event, more than 40 topics will be presented through forums, including net neutrality, encryption, legal framework on cybercrime, Internet security, and the importance of simulations in military training. “Parallel activities will also take place, such as a conference for the heads of the Brazilian Armed Forces departments of Science and Technology, a meeting between representatives from government agencies and bodies that make up the Brazilian Cyber Defense System, and a meeting with representatives from the institutions that make up the Defense-Industry-Academia Innovation System, a synergistic system that seeks to enhance cooperation among all levels of government, Brazil's industrial base, and universities,” Costa said.
Seventh Conference on Military Technology and Simulations
The seventh Conference on Military Technology and Simulations (CSTM, in Portuguese)—a business expo for defense and security products and services—will happen in tandem with Brazil Cyber Defence. CSTM will host 40 exhibitors from the defense, security, and information technology (IT) sectors of 14 countries, including Germany, Belgium, Brazil, Spain, the United States, France, Israel, Italy, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Sweden, and Switzerland. According to Costa, CSTM’s multi-functional approach to military technology, allows attendees to get firsthand knowledge of new technologies and equipment, and get a close-up view of military simulations, which are powerful support tools for military education and training.
“The 2018 edition of CSTM will be the stage for important forums among authorities, military leaders, and representatives from the three spheres of public security—industry, experts, and business people working in corporate security—on the current and future outlooks for the Brazilian Army's strategic programs. Issues relating to the implementation of phase-two of the Border Monitoring System will also be shared,” Costa said.
According to Costa, the overlapping events are a great advantage for participants. “Both defense and security companies and IT are at the forefront of knowledge, and there’s synergy between them. Moreover, many defense companies have their own IT departments with solutions being used outside of the expressly military environment, so there’s a need for integration,” Costa explained.
Institutional support from the Cyber Defense Command
The Cyber Defense Command (ComDCiber, in Portuguese), the Brazilian Army unit responsible for cyberdefense in the Armed Forces, provides institutional support for the event. According to Lieutenant General Angelo Kawakami Okamura, commander of ComDCiber, Brazil Cyber Defence will offer wide-ranging discussions on cybersecurity and defense, electronic warfare, and communications, through interactions among big names in the industry, startups, professional experts in their respective fields, important academic segments, and students.
For Lt. Gen. Okamura, the convergence of the seventh CSTM with the first edition of Brazil Cyber Defence, will highlight each sector’s potential and opportunities for integration and collaboration among participants. “On the agenda are names like Kevin Mitnick, a U.S. security expert and consultant; Paul de Souza, U.S. founder of the Cyber Security Forum Initiative; Demi Getschko, CEO of the Brazilian Network Information Center; and Patrícia Peck, a lawyer specialized in digital law[in Brazil], among others,” he said.
There are also equipment demonstrations planned, such as jammers and electromagnetic interference shielding on unmanned aerial vehicles. In addition, Mitnick, a world renowmed hacker, will simulate a cell phone hack.
Evolution of the cyberdefense industry in Brazil
According to Lt. Gen. Okamura, Brazil evolved in the field of cyberdefense and remains in constant development. “Personnel training and investments made in this sector also need to be ongoing so the country continues to evolve and improve,” he said, highlighting the importance of protecting the nation’s capabilities from potentially hostile cyberoperations and reducing their effects.
The Brazilian Army established ComDCiber in 2016. Its purpose is to plan, coordinate, lead, integrate, and supervise cyberoperations in the defense arena. The unit operates integrally with the Armed Forces through the Joint Operational Command, within the regimental structure of the Brazilian Army. It is organized into a joint staff led by a rear admiral, a Department of Management and Strategy headed by a major general, and the Center for Cyber Defense, under the direction of a major general. “The total number of personnel, including the National Cyber Defense School, should reach 300 service members serving in operational, intelligence, doctrinal, scientific, technological, and training activities,” Lt. Gen. Okamura said.
The creation of ComDCiber helped the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces gain the capacity to operate jointly in cyberspace, in network, and with the necessary freedom of action. “It’s important to note that ComDCiber also had a positive impact on the country's scientific, technological, and industrial fields, and maximized the deterrent effect of our armed forces,” Lt. Gen. Okamura said. “Specifically, in the context of the Brazilian Army, the Cyber Defense Command helped the army transition from the industrial age to the knowledge era,” he concluded.