Cyber Industry and Data Protection Forces

Opening Speech

I want to emphasize how crucial security is for a country. Kobil has over 100 million users and collaborates with companies worldwide. Achieving such success as Turkey is also a source of pride. We hope to see more of such companies globally because I believe it is necessary....

Let me briefly introduce myself. Actually, I wanted to be there, but currently, I am in Berlin and won't be able to attend due to my weekend trip to the United States and my busy schedule. While listening to the previous speakers, I found that what Mr. Süleyman said is indeed accurate, but I would like to offer a different perspective on the matter. I came to Germany at the age of 18 to study. I have been working on data security and "identity" security for approximately 36 years, and I founded a company called Kobil. I don't want to talk too much about the company because, in my opinion, data security and security, in general, are crucial subjects. Therefore, the work being done is extremely valuable, and it is a national program. I always say the following: "A country that does not own its data cannot own itself." Because when we look at it today, data has truly become a new source of power, creating a new realm of threats. That's why I believe that countries must own their own data.

In short, if we talk about Kobil, while Americans tend to start their companies in garages, we, with a German mentality, founded the company in a student dormitory in 1986. For approximately 36 years, and especially since around 1990, we have been working on various aspects of security systems. We developed necessary and crucial products there as well. Today, we continue to work on topics related to security platforms.

I want to emphasize how crucial security is for a country. Kobil has over 100 million users and collaborates with companies worldwide. Achieving such success as Turkey is also a source of pride. We hope to see more of such companies globally because I believe it is necessary. As Mr. Sensoy mentioned earlier, a new era has begun. Welcome to this new era. Today, new trends have emerged, and there is a significant focus on people's behaviors. New companies like Chat GPT, referred to as artificial intelligence, are gaining a lot of attention. It is essential to carefully consider this matter. Companies like Amazon and Microsoft are making significant investments. I want to stress the importance of being very cautious in this regard each time.

Another topic I'd like to address is the issue of social media, or as I call it, "asocial media." We need to ask ourselves why there is such an effort to acquire countries' data, why there is so much interest in it. In my view, the situation has progressed to the point where, through the data collected on social media, you can predict people's behavioral mechanisms and even manipulate them in ways that can truly influence them. Today, it has been proven that 75% of the news on the social media platforms is false. In Germany, it is said that 60% of the youth is experiencing psychological issues. Data security is not only about establishing data; it's also about protecting this area. It is crucial to foresee what can be done with this data and take the necessary precautions. Everyone has a mobile phone, and these phones create addiction. I believe that with these phones, we can achieve things that will change our lives. In the new era, while data security is important, there is also a phenomenon of data collection obsession. The data collection obsession involves examining details such as which web pages are visited and how they are accessed. To illustrate, consider a scenario where a letter is sent to a 14- year-old girl congratulating her on the upcoming birth of her child. The letter is opened by her father, revealing gifts inside, and no one else is aware of the child's pregnancy. When questioned about how this information was accessed, it is claimed to have been deduced from the person's shopping behaviors. Once our behavioral patterns fall into the hands of such entities, they will have the ability to manipulate us. I believe that data collection is evolving towards becoming a national threat.

At Kobil, our consistent message has always been the same: keeping individuals' data abroad is highly risky. For instance, we collaborate with Switzerland, and when we wanted to send cards there, they prohibited personalization in Germany. I view digital transformation not just as a matter of security but as a national problem that the country should prioritize. These issues could escalate and become even more perilous. As I've emphasized before, just as a country needs its Army, Air Force, and Navy, it also needs Data Protection Forces. Failing to protect its data will make it difficult for a country to defend itself. Current examples highlight the severity of these issues, and ongoing developments underscore their significance.

Why is artificial intelligence gaining so much importance? I believe it will be used not only to serve humans but also to manipulate them. The fact that, as Mr. Sensoy mentioned, in the food sector, what used to be obtained from one apple 40 years ago now requires eating 16 apples, indicates that humanity needs to be vigilant in certain matters. As our President pointed out, the world is not composed of only five countries. Data protection is also a crucial issue within the country, as in other areas. What I am saying here is applicable not only to Turkey but to every country. Therefore, I believe we need to act more objectively.

I would also like to emphasize how important identity is within data security. In the world of social media and the internet, numerous anonymous accounts exist. These accounts not only spread false news but also engage in unethical activities. A realm of irresponsibility has emerged here, and it is crucial to reassess this situation. When working with Kobil identity, we ensure that these data remain inaccessible to anyone, taking significant precautions in the early stages, such as personality identification. As a technology company, we can confidently say that our technology is among the top three globally, possessing capabilities that can compete at that level.

Here, we are addressing topics such as strong identity and smart identity. What matters to us is how a strong identity is achieved. On the other hand, we utilize artificial intelligence to explore what can be accomplished with a smart identity. As you can see, we have been working on digital identity with a focus on artificial intelligence for years. However, our emphasis lies in the security aspect of artificial intelligence. I believe that in the future, meaningless tasks could be carried out with AI, so it's essential to secure and use artificial intelligence responsibly. As it will become evident, people could manipulate various aspects of your life using your images. Currently, they can even mimic your voice by recording your videos. By implementing AI-focused security, you will be able to expose the falseness of such attempts. We are currently working on developing mechanisms for this purpose.

Where will cyber-attacks take place in digital transformation? Taking Tesla as an example in the development of electric cars, Tesla is more of a software company today than an artificial intelligence company. Since electric cars operate in electric environments, it is necessary to consider what can be done with these cars in situations where they are not protected. When you lose control, each of these vehicles can be unleashed like a terrorist. Here, as I mentioned, I believe that the internet, which is becoming increasingly intelligent with these cars (the same can be said about robots), should be protected in the same way.

As everyone knows well, there are also numerous financial attacks. I anticipate similar situations in the education and healthcare sectors. There is a potential for attacks on governments and cities as well. In my opinion, the danger is increasingly manifesting itself in these areas. According to a study conducted by an insurance company in the UK, there is a report suggesting that the financial sector could incur $3 trillion in damages in the coming years. Economically, it has the potential to destabilize certain countries and could lead to developments in other directions due to the impact on the security status of the system.

Especially, what I'm trying to convey is that our country should truly be a society that produces rather than just consumes. The government has various incentives in this regard, which are highly valuable. However, I believe that if we can become a society that produces more than it consumes, everything will be better.

In short, I conclude my words by saying that this is all I have to say from Germany.

(İsmet KOYUN
CEO & Founder / KOBIL, 9th Istanbul Security Conference Opening Speech Transcript 23 November 2023)
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10th Istanbul Security Conference

  • 21 Nov 2024 - 22 Nov 2024
  • İstanbul - Türkiye

Istanbul Cyber-Security Forum

The rapid development of information technologies has brought security problems of the same magnitude. In the early years of the Internet, "accessibility" came to the fore among the three important components of information security, "accessibility, confidentiality, and integrity"; First, the development and operation of the Internet were considered, and "confidentiality and integrity" remained in the background.

  • 03 Nov 2022 - 03 Nov 2022
  • Ramada Hotel & Suites by Wyndham İstanbul Merter -
  • İstanbul - Turkey