GSMA Programs

GSMA SEC CON 2023 - Securing Telecoms in Times of Conflict

Doors Open
9:15 AM

Wed, Sep 27: 9:30 am - 12:30 pm PDT



W220, Level 2

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Session Description

The GSMA was created on the common understanding to build and operate a world-wide mobile telecommunication network without borders. Today, international changes in communication security and supply chain resilience are at the forefront of the evolution of telecommunication. The diverging international challenges require a closer dialogue on security and supply chain between industry and a wide range of ecosystem players.


Join us at GSMA SEC CON to hear from leading security experts, in both the public and private sector, on how to keep telecoms secure in times of conflict. Please submit the online form here


Session 1 – The Mobile Network Battlefield

Telecoms represent a significant battlefield for cyber warfare. As a vital component of a nation’s infrastructure, defending mobile networks is a high priority. This session will discuss the challenges that conflict poses to the mobile industry and strategies for building resilience in this rapidly evolving arena.



Welcome and Intro (09:30 – 09:33)

Samantha Kight, Head of Industry Security, GSMA



Keynote: Recognizing the role of telecoms during conflict (09:33 – 09:40)

Throughout history we have seen how new technology changes the experiences of people caught up in conflict. This keynote explores how the GSMA has built a network to bring the industry together to support the efforts in maintaining and standing up connectivity.

Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA



Case Study: The Mobile Network Battlefield (09:40 – 10:05)

Mobile Networks and mobile phones are now ubiquitous throughout the world, and that includes on the Battlefield. We profile the history of mobile networks in conflicts, with a focus on their use in Ukraine. We will initially cover the expected outcome and the actual uses of mobile networks, as well as how both sides prepared and adapted over time. Then we shall present some of the results of new research on how mobile networks can be used on the battlefield. Finally, we will give recommendations on how network and countries around the world can learn from this conflict to help build in resilience and security into their own societies.

Cathal McDaid, Chief Technology Officer, ENEA AdaptiveMobile Security



Keynote: Keeping Civilians Connected in Conflict – Kyvstar’s experience (10:05 – 10:25)

Connectivity is a humanitarian need during the war. Ukraine is facing a growing humanitarian catastrophe and connectivity plays a vital role during evacuation, providing help and medical services, having access to information and being connected with loved ones. Kyivstar, the biggest mobile operator in Ukraine, will share lifehacks on how to be prepared for crisis scenarios during war times, focusing on four strategics pillars:

- Securing people

- Securing the network

- How to work during blackouts

- Humanitarian help

Kyivstar is working day and night to provide sustainable and secure mobile communication services ensuring that all Ukrainians can access information, use critical digital services and contact loved ones.

Volodymyr Lutchenko, Chief Technology Officer, Kyivstar



Fireside Chat: Building resilience in mobile networks (10:25 – 10:45)

Samantha Kight, Head of Industry Security, GSMA

Cathal McDaid, Chief Technology Officer, ENEA AdaptiveMobile Security

Volodymyr Lutchenko, Chief Technology Officer, Kyivstar



Close (10:45)

Samantha Kight, Head of Industry Security, GSMA



Networking Break (10:45 – 11:30)



Session 2 - Disinformation: Securing telecoms to stop fake news from spreading

In times of conflict, an honest exchange of information is hard to come by. Disinformation can be spread extensively through telecoms, presenting security challenges for operators and the wider ecosystem. This session will discuss the implications of disinformation, propaganda and active measures for telecoms during conflicts.



Welcome (11:30 – 11:35)

Samantha Kight, Head of Industry Security, GSMA



Intro: Massive digital transformation is shaping our world, and not always for the better (11:35 – 11:45)

While disinformation and misinformation are hardly new, these and other digital harms are being turbo-changed by digital connectivity. Our growing dependence on satellites, data centers, underwater cables, cell phones, digital platforms and the algorithms that power them are bringing both opportunities and risks. From Afghanistan and Yemen to Haiti and Mexico, the spread of digital harms has real world consequences. They can determine whether someone lives or dies by shaping everything from access to security and protection, to water, food, healthcare, and vaccines. During this intro, SecDev Group will talk about how digital dependencies offer both lifelines and liabilities.

Robert Muggah, Co-Founder, SecDev 



Case Study: Cognitive Influence Operations during Gray Zone Conflict – A Case for Industry Risk Reduction (11:45 – 12:05)

David Simpson, Professor, Virginia Tech



Fireside Chat: Securing telecoms to stop fake news from spreading (12:05 – 12:25)

Samantha Kight, Head of Industry Security, GSMA

David Simpson, Professor, Virginia Tech 

Charles Clancy, Ph.D Chief Futurist, MITRE 



Close (12.25 – 12.30)

Samantha Kight, Head of Industry Security, GSMA



Doors Open: 9:15 AM

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