SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 9 (UPI) — A forum to advance to advance public-private cybersecurity innovation and collaboration is being organized for California next month.

The Security Innovation Network described its annual IT Security Entrepreneurs’ Forum as an increasingly vital event for connecting private industry, investors and researchers in order to defeat global cyber-threats.

“A breakdown in cybersecurity is now one of the five major risks facing the global economy and the U.S. needs to be able to respond to attacks at network speed,” said Robert Rodriguez, founder and chairman of SINET.

“It is crucial that we embrace open innovation models that foster awareness throughout the entire cybersecurity ecosystem. When it comes to innovation, we cannot afford to leave any stone unturned.”

Keynote speakers and participants in panel discussions include Robert Gordon, head, of Cyber Security Strategy, National Cyber Security Directorate, Public Safety Canada; Richard Hale, chief information assurance executive, Defense Information Systems Agency; Douglas Maughan, division director, Cyber Security Division, Science and Technology Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Kjetil Nilsen, director general, Nasjonal Sikkerhetsmyndighet, Norway’s National Security Authority; and others.

“2011 will be a year of dynamic shifts in online threats: from sophisticated Stuxnet super weapons and targeted political hacktivism, such as WikiLeaks, to more widespread social media and mobile device hacking schemes,” said Rodriguez. “This forum will bring light to these and other critical issues.”

The forum is scheduled for March 15-16 at Stanford University in California.