Seattle plays host to online security conference

Nearly 300 security professionals expected to attend fourth annual AOTA summit


Some 300 government or private-sector executives concerned with online security are due to convene in Seattle on Wednesday to hear experts discuss the latest Internet-based threats and how to counter them.

The fourth annual Authentication and Online Trust Alliance summit is meeting for two days at the Seattle Westin. Scheduled speakers include former White House cybersecurity officer Howard Schmidt, Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna, PayPal chief security officer Michael Barrett and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark.

Conference chairman Craig Spiezle said detection and blocking technologies have reduced the spam reaching computer users' inboxes. But he said another, more dangerous threat - the illicit collection and misuse of personal information - is on the rise.

"There's more and more organized crime involved and brokering of data among third parties, and we're seeing that worldwide," said Spiezle, who also is an Internet security director at Microsoft. "They get a little data on you from this exploit (deceptive e-mail), a little from that, and combine it."

Other threats also are on the rise, according to the conference's sponsor, which Spiezle said has about 50 corporate members. It said phishing, which is sending e-mail in an attempt to deceive the recipient into providing personal information, resulted in losses of $3.2 billion last year - up from $137 million in 2004.

The conference is open to the public. Admission is $1,199. More information is available by calling 443-794-6073 or visiting aotalliance.org/summit2008/.