Lebanese American University


A deep walk on the dark side of information security

LAU’s Software Institute hosts two day course on cybersecurity.


The two day course – to be followed by a workshop on security in social media – highlighted the breadth of information security.

Increasing reliance on digitalized information’s unstoppable rise comes with the known risk of our personal information’s integrity being compromised. However, most people seem to lack in-depth knowledge on the threat, often referring to this versatile many-headed monster simply as “viruses” or “malware.” As the intensive course given by LAU’s Software Institute recently highlighted, browsing the web safely requires more than simply installing an antivirus. As the profile of the potential victim rises, the risk of an attack increases, as do the countermeasures that need to be taken.

The course, headlined by former hacker and longtime digital security expert Raoul “Nobody” Chiesa and Digital Forensics expert Selene Giupponi, was attended by a large variety of participants. The presence of representatives from the Central Bank, the Internal Security Forces, commercial banks, academic institutions, and last but not least from the private sector revealed the wide attention dedicated to the matter.

“Our goal is to bring you the experience we have gained on the ground and through research in critical areas,” said Chiesa, highlighting the critical role of profiling hackers, a step many security analysts have completely ignored. Chiesa asserted that security is not a product, as many antivirus vendors would have us believe. Rather, it is an intricate process that takes into account malicious intent on the part of hackers, subpar products and standards that forgo security instructions during marketing hype and packaging in favor of added revenue, and simple human error. 

Associate professor Sanaa Sharafeddine, newly appointed director of the LAU Software Institute, engineered the course. “Despite the fact that this conference focuses on security on the corporate, national and global levels more than it does on the personal level, one of the most important aspect it serves is awareness on the topic.”

The two day course – to be followed by a workshop on security in social media –

highlighted the breadth of information security and the increasing vulnerability brought on by the rising adoption of “digital identities.” Examples of entire infrastructures being subject to threat were given, while hackers were portrayed more as classic mob lords with extravagant lifestyles paid for by their misdeeds, rather than the classic computer geek image.

The conference enthralled participants, as speakers moved on to present surprising statistics on internet connectivity and potential vulnerabilities, and finally to a hands-on workshop. Lara Hamdan from BLOM Bank Information Systems Security said, “We’ve found this conference really informative. Although its main focus is not banking security, it is quite valuable to gain as much knowledge as possible on how hacking occurs on a broader level.”

The event was sponsored by ACT, a regional IT service provider and system integrator.





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