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Speakers

Commander Chris Goldsmid
Commander Chris Goldsmid
Acting Assistant Commissioner,
Cybercrime Operations, Australian Federal Police

Since January 2019, Commander Goldsmid has led Cybercrime Operations, the area mandated to enhance AFP cyber capabilities and investigate cybercrimes against the Commonwealth government, critical Infrastructure, systems of national significance and those impacting the whole of economy. Cybercrime Operations forms part of the AFP Cyber Command with Commander Goldsmid performing a key role in protecting the Australian community from cybercrime through his leadership of the AFP led Joint Policing Cybercrime Coordination Centre in Sydney.

Commander Goldsmid joined the Australian Federal Police in 2002 and has over nineteen years’ experience as a leader and manager in local, national and international law enforcement. He has a diverse skillset across operational, policy and capability development roles and has led criminal investigations targeting organised crime, money laundering, drug trafficking and corruption.

Commander Goldsmid holds academic qualifications in law and information technology and has completed the AFP’s Management of Serious Crime (MOSC) program.

Minister Chris Steel
Minister Chris Steel
ACT Minister for Skills and Training and the ACT Special Minister of State with responsibility for cyber security

Chris Steel is a Member for Murrumbidgee in the ACT Legislative Assembly. He was elected to the Assembly in October 2016.
In August 2018 Chris became a member of Cabinet in the ACT Government. He is currently responsible for the following portfolios:

  • Minister for Planning
  • Minister for Transport
  • Minister for Skills and Training
  • Special Minister of State

Prior to entering politics, Chris was an education advocate, at peak body Early Childhood Australia and has previously worked in both the Australian Government and ACT Government focusing on a range of social policy areas.
He has worked extensively in the area of early childhood reform including the introduction of the National Quality Agenda, and universal access to early childhood education.
Chris has completed undergraduate degrees in Law and Arts (majoring in Political Science) at the Australian National University (ANU).

Abbas Kudrati
Abbas Kudrati
APAC Chief Cybersecurity Advisor,
Microsoft

Abbas Kudrati is a highly regarded cybersecurity expert and accomplished public speaker, currently serving as Microsoft Asia's Lead Chief Cybersecurity Advisor for the Security Solutions Area. In this role, he advises on cutting-edge cybersecurity strategies and technologies to ensure Microsoft's clients remain safe in an increasingly digital world.

Beyond his work at Microsoft, Abbas is a sought-after executive advisor to numerous prestigious organizations, including LaTrobe University, HITRUST ASIA, and EC Council ASIA. He also supports the broader security community through his work with ISACA Chapters and by mentoring students.

As a bestselling author, Abbas has written several authoritative books on cybersecurity, including "Threat Hunting in the Cloud" by Wiley, "Zero Trust and Journey Across the Digital Estate" by CRC Press, and "Managing Risks in Digital Transformation" by Packt. He is also the Technical Editor for two books, "Effective Crisis Management" by BPB and "IoT Security with Microsoft Defender for IoT" by Packt.

Abbas is also a highly respected part-time Professor of Practice at LaTrobe University and a keynote speaker on a range of cybersecurity-related topics, including Zero-Trust, Cloud Security, Governance, Risk, and Compliance. His extensive expertise in the field of cybersecurity and engaging speaking style make him a popular choice for events, conferences, and corporate training sessions. Learn more about him on https://aka.ms/abbas

Alex Nehmy
Alex Nehmy
Field Chief Security Officer, Critical Industries,
Japan & Asia Pacific, Palo Alto Networks

Alex Nehmy is Field Chief Security Officer for Critical Industries at Palo Alto Networks. Alex has specialised in cyber security for the past 20 years. Alex has consulted nationally and internationally for KPMG and led cyber security for Australia's largest defence prime.

Alex built the cyber security capabilities for The University of Adelaide and also SA Power Networks, where he brought the IT and Operational Technology groups together to secure the South Australian electricity grid and watched the disruption from the green energy revolution play out with the huge growth of rooftop solar and initiatives such as the virtual power plant with Tesla.

Alex brings a wealth of industry experience, especially in critical infrastructure, to Palo Alto Networks

Andreas Ostenfeldt
Andreas Ostenfeldt
FTS Director,
Clayton Utz

Andreas has worked in the cyber industry across Latin America, North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Oceania. During this time, he has supported both local and global organisations in preparing for and responding to major cyber incidents spanning a wide variety of threats such as ransomware, sabotage, commercial espionage, data breaches and more. He specialises in Cyber Crisis management and Incident response and has done so exclusively for the past 12 years. His extensive experience in managing and collaborating on cyber incidents across the world has equipped him with deep insights into how these events impact organisations and what common factors between them, lead to a more successful response and organisational resilience.

Annie Haggar
Annie Haggar
Principal,
Cyber GC

Annie Haggar is the founder and principal of Cyber GC - a legal and consulting practice dedicated to helping Australian businesses prepare for and fight cyberattacks. Annie is a multi-award-winning cybersecurity lawyer and was recently awarded General Counsel of the Year (Australian Law Awards - Lawyers Weekly - 2021).  She supports clients across the private sector and Commonwealth government, critical infrastructure and small and medium business.  

She brings to Cyber GC the experience gained in 20 years as a technology lawyer, 12 years working for one of the largest technology companies in the world and 6 years as global legal counsel for Accenture Security, one of the largest security companies in the world. She specialises in advising on enterprise security risk, including legal regulation, security by design and the impact on the whole organisation of cybersecurity issues.  

Ashwin Ram
Ashwin Ram
Cyber Security Evangelist,
Office of the Chief Technology Officer, Check Point Software Technologies

Ashwin Ram is a seasoned cyber security expert and thought leader with a unique blend of CISO consulting experience and technical know-how. Ashwin is widely regarded as a trusted advisor by industry titans, startups, and industry collectives due to his ability to translate technical threats into business contexts to evaluate overall risk to organisations.
 
In 2023, his contributions were recognised when he was honoured as one of only five cyber professionals among the 'Top 100 Innovators' in Australia, an accolade presented by KPMG in collaboration with The Australian newspaper.
 
With security expertise in cloud, threat intelligence, network, endpoint, mobile, and IoT, Ashwin can switch effortlessly between "tech talk" and "business talk," making him a go-to person for organisations looking to bolster their cyber resilience. His unwavering passion for new challenges and results-driven approach sets him apart in the industry.
 
Ashwin's impressive track record has earned him prestigious accolades such as winning the fiercely competitive 'Cyber Leadership Program (2020)' and the 'Cyber Strategy and Transformation Program (2021)' from the esteemed Cyber Leadership Institutes.

Bastien Treptel
Bastien Treptel
Co-founder,
CTRL Group

At the age of 14 Bastien Treptel was given his first computer, by the age of 16, the police came knocking.

Bastien had used his hacking skills to get into one of the big four banks and access credit cards. It was his love of pizza that led to the police tracking him down and ultimately reforming his ways.

Years later, Bastien founded CTRL Group to combat cybercrime and in November 2021 sold the company for millions.

Current Work:

Bastien now uses his time to spread the word on how dangerous and creative cyber criminals are and how you can protect your business and personal life.

Bastien is the co-founder of CTRL Group - Australia's progressive information security firm, protecting businesses from cyber risk. CTRL Group offers best-in-class security solutions ranging from audits, hacking, monitoring, advisory and education.

Bastien is dedicated to inspiring everyone to appreciate security as it becomes an essential part of our lives as we move into a hyper-digitized world.

Bastien is also the host of the CyberHacker podcast series which has over 100,000 subscribers and is currently in production for season 2.

Brendan Dowling
Brendan Dowling
Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology

Brendan was appointed as Australia’s Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology in May 2023. As Ambassador, he leads Australia’s international engagement on cyber affairs and critical technology issues, while delivering cyber capacity building, crisis response and building resilience across our region.

Brendan has had a distinguished career in cyber affairs, most recently leading the Cyber and Critical Technology Coordination Centre at the Department of Home Affairs. He also served as the First Assistant Secretary for Digital and Technology Security Policy in Home Affairs. In those roles he provided national leadership and international engagement on cyber security strategy and coordination, the security of critical and emerging technologies and safety and security online.

Brendan held a senior role at Australia’s Embassy in the United States, leading engagement in the United States and across the Americas region on national security, cyber security, critical technology, criminal justice, emergency management, and immigration and border functions.

Prior to the US, Brendan was the Assistant Secretary for the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa in Home Affairs’ International Division. In that role, he led the department’s engagement with governments across those regions, as well as with the United Nations and other multilateral institutions. Brendan was also posted to Amman, Jordan, leading the Department’s largest refugee mission and relations with governments across the region.

Chirag Joshi
Chirag Joshi
Founder and CISO,
7 Rules Cyber

Add to session: Panel: Protecting Australia's critical infrastructure

Bio:
Chirag Joshi is a seasoned cyber security executive with extensive experience building and leading cyber security and risk management programs in multiple countries across various industries. He is the Founder and CISO at 7 Rules Cyber – an innovative cyber security consulting and thought leadership company focused on enabling businesses to be secure in a cost-effective and efficient manner. He is the author of the two bestselling books – “7 Rules to Become Exceptional at Cyber Security” and “7 Rules to Influence Behaviour and Win at Cyber Security Awareness." Chirag is featured in the prestigious CSO30 list of top 30 cyber security executives in Australia.
 
Chirag is a well-known keynote speaker and has presented at numerous leading international and regional conferences and forums on topics such as cyber threat landscape, effective cyber security strategy and architecture, cyber regulations, security culture, and the importance of human factor.
 
He has conducted several successful cyber security education sessions for executives and non-technical audiences in industries such as financial services, energy, healthcare, government, and higher education. He has led teams and multi-million-dollar cyber transformation initiatives. He has experience in both IT and OT environments and has managed cyber security through demergers and divestments.
 
Chirag is also a Board Director for ISACA Sydney. His academic qualifications include Master’s degree in Telecommunications Management and Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering. He holds multiple certifications including CISA, CISM, CRISC and CDPSE.

Cindy Dickson
Cindy Dickson
District Sales Manager Federal Government & Defence,
Palo Alto Networks
Corien Vermaak
Corien Vermaak
Director of Cybersecurity,
Cisco Australia & New Zealand

Corien Vermaak started her career as a technology law specialist within the telecommunication space and soon fell in love with data privacy and the legal structures governing cybercrime. In her career, Corien specialised in cybercrime legislation and data privacy while representing large multinationals on
these matters.

She holds a master’s degree in law specialising in cybercrime and data privacy. She has been involved in the writing of legislation in this regard as well as consulting to Africa Union and INTERPOL on issues
relating to cybercrimes and privacy.

Corien is a Qualified Digital Forensic Auditor, Lead ISO 27001 auditor and C|CISO. Corien has been a CISO Advisor for the Cisco Security Centre of Excellence in the Asia Pacific, Japan and Greater China
region where she has led market leadership projects.

She has used her lab and investigative experience to instruct and develop training focused on educating children on the dangers in the digital world. She has been running a pro-bono campaign educating over 52,000 children on cyberbullying and digital privacy. In 2022, Corien released her book “Hacker Mom – the practical guide to keeping your kids safe online”.

Corien is one of the global heads of Cisco Woman in Cybersecurity and has been both an executive and non-executive board member for Woman in ICT.

She is currently Cisco’s director of cybersecurity for Australia & New Zealand.

Due to her involvement in the ANZ Cybersecurity industry, Corien has joined the Boards of:

  • Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre (Aus3C)
  • Future Communication Industry Advisory Board
  • Cyber Hub at Macquarie University (Corien is a Research Fellow at Macquarie University)
David Hollingworth
David Hollingworth
Senior Journalist,
Cyber Daily

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over nearly 30 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles including PC & Tech Authority, TechRadar, and Atomic. Hollingworth is currently a Senior Journalist on Cyber Daily, covering everything from criminal trends in cyber security to government regulations and digital transformation.

David Milin
David Milin
Head of Cyber Security,
AUCloud

David joined AUCloud with the acquisition of PCG Cyber, where David was the Founder and Managing Director. David leads a team of security experts responsible for managing and mitigating client security risks while nurturing a new generation of specialists. With over two decades of experience across government and commercial sectors, David excels in Governance, IT operations, risk management, and cybersecurity consulting. He serves as a cybersecurity advisor to various government agencies and providers, leveraging his Master of Business Administration and Diploma of Security Risk Management. David holds certifications including Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and is endorsed as an IRAP Assessor through the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD). His previous roles include Principal Security Consultant at Saltbush, Director of Dalmatian Group (later part of CSC/DXC), Lead Security Consultant for IBM’s Federal Cluster, and Director of IT Security at the Australian Government Department of Education, Science, and Training.

Deepa Thakkar
Deepa Thakkar
Senior Manager in the Clayton Utz Forensic and Technology Segment,
Clayton UTZ

Deepa is a Senior Manager in the cybersecurity, focusing on data governance, data privacy, privacy laws and compliance, design security framework. She has over 11 years of experience with clients from Health, Banking and Capital, Education and Consumer market segment across India, USA and Australia.

Deepa has extensive experience working across leading security frameworks such as ISO 27001, NIIST CSF, VPDSF, etc. Also, has experience working with various regulations such as Australia Privacy
Act, GDPR and CCPA.

Dr. Sascha Dov Bachmann
Dr. Sascha Dov Bachmann
Professor in Law,
Canberra Law School - University of Canberra

Sascha Dov is an international scholar, former Lieutenant Colonel (GER A Res)- with operational experience in the Balkans and as exchange officer with the US Marines and a career professional in law and higher education. In the last 20 years he worked in various capacities and functions in the USA, the Middle East, South Africa and various European countries. Sascha Dov joined Canberra Law School in September 2019. Before then he worked as an Associate Professor at Bournemouth University and the University of Lincoln after having taught as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth. Sascha Dov was appointed (eo) Docent (Reader) in War Studies at the Swedish Defence University in 2016. In 2017 he was appointed (Professorial) Research Fellow at CEMIS, Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University and as then in 2020 as Research Fellow at The Security Institute for Governance and Leadership in Africa, Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University. Educated in Germany (LMU München), South Africa (Stellenbosch and University of Johannesburg) and the UK (Portsmouth). Sascha Dov worked with and presented to NATO, US CENTCOM, US AFRICOM, the Austrian Ministry of Defence, the Swedish Defence University, the Royal Danish Defence College, the South African National Defence Force and the Australian Defence College on the subjects of Hybrid War/Threats, Lawfare, InfoOps and Targeting. His research (more than 70 academic outputs) is interdisciplinary and discusses topical issues arising from new Security Challenges of the 21st Century such as Hybrid Warfare, Information Operations, the use of Lawfare, Cyber enhanced Hybrid Warfare alongside other topics such as International Criminal Justice, Lawfare and Human Security. Sascha Dov contributes to NATO’s Legal Advisor Web (LAWFAS) as a Fellow of NATO SHAPE for the Asia Pacific (Hybrid Threats and Lawfare) working on Influence operations, Grey-zone, Hybrid Warfare, Great Power competition, Australian and Asia Pacific Security. Sascha Dov has been a regular visiting academic at ADF's Directorate of Joint Influence Operations and across the ADF.

Helen Texeira
Helen Texeira
Consulting Director,
Unit 42 at Palo Alto Networks
Liam Garman
Liam Garman
Managing Editor,
Defence & Aerospace, Momentum Media

Liam began his career as a speech writer at New South Wales Parliament before working for world leading campaigns and research agencies in Sydney and Auckland. Throughout his career, Liam has managed and executed a range of international media and communications campaigns spanning politics, business, industrial relations and infrastructure. He’s since shifted his attention to researching and writing extensively on geopolitics and defence, specifically in North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Sydney and a Master of Strategy and Security from UNSW Canberra, with a thesis on post-truth, postmodernism and disinformation operations.

Luisa Genovese
Luisa Genovese
Consulting Director,
Unit 42, Japan & Asia Pacific at Palo Alto Networks

Luisa Genovese serves as the Consulting Director, Unit 42, for Asia Pacific and Japan at Palo Alto Networks. She is an internationally recognised cybersecurity leader with over a decade of experience in cybercrime operations in government and enterprise organizations, specializing in intelligence and investigations, SOC operations, threat and risk management, and third-party security and privacy assessments.

With extensive experience in the Financial Services sector, she led Security Integration, Cyber Resilience, and Recovery. Before joining banking, Luisa worked as a Federal Agent in the Cybercrime Operations division of the Australian Federal Police. She played a crucial role in investigating and combating cybercrime and protecting the digital landscape. Her invaluable experience provides a fundamental understanding of evolving cyber threats and effective risk mitigation.

Luisa actively discusses security issues, participates in forums, conferences, and panels, and provides intelligence on cybersecurity matters to the public and private sectors.

Major General (Ret’d) Dr Marcus Thompson AM
Major General (Ret’d) Dr Marcus Thompson AM
Director,
Cyber Compass Pty Ltd

Dr Marcus Thompson is a retired Major General who served 34 years in the Australian Army. Graduating from the Royal Military College in 1988, Marcus was allocated to the Royal Australian Corps of Signals. He served in a variety of command, regimental and Special Operations appointments including: Command of the 3rd Combat Signal Regiment; secondment to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet as the Senior Advisor Defence Policy and Operations; Director General Special Operations Capability; Commander 6th Brigade; and deployments to East Timor, Iraq, and Afghanistan. His final appointment was as the inaugural Head of Information Warfare for the Australian Defence Force.

Marcus holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering with honours from the University of New South Wales, a Bachelor of Business from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, a Master of Defence Studies from the University of Canberra, a Master of Strategic Studies from Deakin University, and a PhD in Cyber Security from the University of New South Wales. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Since leaving the Australian Army, Marcus has founded Cyber Compass Pty Ltd, an independent advisory focused on improving cyber security and developing sovereign Australian capability. He has worked with and supported many Australian entities, including Macquarie Technology Group, ParaFlare, several major banks and financial institutions, and the Melbourne Business School. He is a Non-Executive Director of Penten, a Non-Executive Director of Bank Australia, and a Non-executive Director of Data Action.

Maryam Bechtel
Maryam Bechtel
Chief Information Security Officer,
AGL Energy

With over 17 years of experience in information security, Maryam Bechtel is a recognised leader in the Cyber industry, driving transformation and turning organisations into cyber savvy powerhouses of protection. She has experience across multiple continents, spanning advisory and consulting, in-house services and corporate.
 
As the Chief Information Security Officer at AGL Energy, Maryam is responsible for the Cyber protection of one of Australia’s most critical infrastructures, essential for the nation's energy supply and ensuring over 4 million customers energy and telco needs are met.
 
Her career has consisted of two phases: More than a decade of consulting with Deutsche Telekom and Deloitte, working with C-levels and executives in large international companies to define overarching and achievable cyber security strategy. Her consulting engagements led her to gain industry wide experience across various cyber security domains in multiple countries such as Germany, Netherlands, UK, USA and Australia.
 
In recent years, as a hands-on leader, her focus has been to build high performance, world-class cyber security teams. She challenges her teams to find innovative solutions for business problems, enhance operational efficiency underpinned by a culture which values collaboration, integrity, and open communication.
 
Maryam's success has made her a natural female role model in the cybersecurity community, an active advocate of the Australian Women in Security Network (AWSN) that supports aspiring females in the industry through formal and informal coaching and mentoring. As a tribute to her leadership and contribution to the industry, Maryam was awarded the AISA Cyber Professional of the Year Award 2022.
 
Her professional experience is supported by a strong academic background illustrated by a master’s degree in information security from Stockholm and Bachelor of Software Engineering.

Meg Tapia
Meg Tapia
Managing Director,
Novexus

Meg Tapia is a seasoned national security practitioner focused on intelligence capability and technology. She speaks and writes publicly on the national security threats facing Australia, with a passion for strategic workforce design and mis/disinformation. Meg brings a rare blend of a national security, government relations, commercial, and business operations expertise to solve the most dynamic national security challenges. Meg draws on over 20 years of Commonwealth, State Government, and private sector experience, including 16 years as a diplomat with postings to Papua New Guinea, Afghanistan and Vanuatu, and three degrees in policy and business. Meg was awarded the Australian Operational Service Medal and NATO Medal for her civilian service in Afghanistan; was co-host of the ANU National Security College Women in National Security podcast; and currently serves on the Board of the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers and the Advisory Board of Hemisphere East.

Peter Maloney
Peter Maloney
Managing Director & CEO,
AUCloud

Protecting Australia’s digital economy, AUCloud is a leading provider of sovereign cloud solutions. We focus on data security & location. We wrap our solutions in trusted controls which are compliant with regulations, supporting Australia’s national interests.

Peter has over 20 years of experience as a CEO, with a proven track record of leading various tech companies in Australia. Prior to joining AUCloud in 2023, Peter was CEO of leading legal & prop-tech company; GlobalX. In 2021, Peter led the sale of GlobalX to Dye & Durham for A$170M, and was subsequently appointed Managing Director Dye & Durham Australia, overseeing the ownership transition and merger with SAI Global Property Division.

Peter previously was COO of iCare Solutions which built electronic health records for residential aged care, and Director Credit & Information Services with Dun & Bradstreet where Peter was part of the Management Buyout Team which acquired the Australian & New Zealand operations from D&B Corporation.

Rafe Berding
Rafe Berding
Chief Corporate Affairs Officer,
AUCloud

Rafe is the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of AUCloud.
Rafe is a data-driven senior executive with extensive experience working across high growth technology and services organisations. With over 10 years experience, Rafe has a flair for business development, operations, marketing, corporate communications and strategic management.
Rafe has held senior executive roles in high growth Australian technology companies including Chief Customer Officer of Dye & Durham Australia and Chief Marketing Officer of GlobalX.

Sam Brazier-Hollins
Sam Brazier-Hollins
Head of Technical Consulting,
Fujistu Cyber Security Services’
Thom Taylor
Thom Taylor
Senior Threat Intelligence Analyst,
Unit 42, Palo Alto Networks
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