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Ukraine’s Hackit 4.0 Goes From Strength To Strength

Hackit 4.0 took place on October 10-11 with interest in the cybersecurity conference proving to be stronger than ever. This was the fourth year of the event and it’s the first time to locate in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.  

The forum brought together some of the world’s leading cybersecurity and blockchain experts and of course, hackers.  Established in 2015, the first three years of the event saw Hackit locate in Kharkiv in Ukraine’s North East. HackIT gathered more than 650 participants from 44 countries and representatives of 84 companies.

Whilst location has changed for the conference, so too the organizers. On this occasion, Hacken – took on that responsibility.  Hacken is a company which comprises of a team with cybersecurity and financial expertise.  They’ve created a specialized software utility token of the same name which centres around cybersecurity projects and professionals. HackenProof is a bug bounty marketplace where hackers are rewarded for their findings with Hacken tokens.  Similarly, smart contracts are used in tandem with the Ethereum based token to facilitate the exchange of tokens for other cybersecurity products and services such as vulnerability reports.

The forum program consisted of two competitions for white hat hackers, a networking event centred around a tour of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the two-day conference which took place at Kiev’s Parkovy Convention and Exhibition Center.  

Ukraine’s Deputy Minister for Information Policy – Dmitry Zolotukhin – commented on the importance of the event:

“We need to understand how to use law enforcement agencies and their procedures to improve the environment we live in. We need experienced professionals to help solve [cyber] security issues. My task is to help my colleagues to popularize the conference not only in Ukraine but also abroad, to make these events take place over and over again and to be as effective as possible”

The event commenced with the Hacken Cup – a bug bounty marathon – which was scheduled prior to the conference itself.  25 white hat hackers from around the world participated in the competition, with the objective of seeking out vulnerabilities in the technical infrastructure of partner companies.  Online taxi service Uklon and communication platform Crypviser were amongst the companies who opened their products to challenge ethical hackers as part of the competition.  

The tour of Chernobyl was organized on October 9 and whilst its function was that of a networking event, it also served as a reminder to participants of the critical importance of taking a responsible approach toward the technological achievements of mankind. Innovating to make our lives easier can lead to tragedy if mishandled or exploited carelessly.

That theme of the responsible use of technology continued during the two day conference which followed at the Parkovy Convention and Exhibition Center.  Keynote speaker Olivier Cadic – French Senator and head of their Cyber Security Committee spoke to the requirement for a responsible attitude not just in the technological sphere but also in public and communications sectors:

“We should not wait until September 11 in cyberspace. We must prepare an answer for those who want to undermine our democracy from within. To desire to be free is to want freedom for all. Ukraine is a democratic country. We ask you to help us make the world free”

Otherwise, the conference included two streams of lectures, several round-tables and panel discussions.  Whilst the first day covered cyber attacks, day two of the conference centred on the latest protection tools applicable in business.

As many as 46 speakers took to the stage at the conference, including Moxie Marlinspike, co-founder of Signal.  Furthermore, Brian Gorenc, Director of Vulnerability Research at Trend Micro and Ibrahim Hegazi, Senior Security Consultant at Deloitte also participated.  

HackIT is all about bringing hackers and the crypto community together.  With that, Bitcoin Core developer, Peter Todd and Michael Schlon von Beneveitz, hardware developer with the Monero cryptocurrency project took to the stage.  

The outcome from the event has been positive and event organizer, Dmitry Budorin (CEO of Hacken) expressed his satisfaction:

“We are incredibly proud that we managed to gather robust cybersecurity experts and talented white hat hackers from around the world here, in Ukraine.”. . .”Our goal is to make Ukraine the centre of cybersecurity in Eastern Europe, where top industry experts will meet regularly. And we can already say that HackIT 4.0 conference is a successful step in this direction”.

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