A few years ago, the idea came up at our local AHA! meeting that our group should host an information security and/or hacking conference here in Austin, Texas. Some venue ideas were tossed around, some preliminary cost research done, but the idea never went much beyond that due to a number of reasons, foremost of which is that AHA! folk are very, very busy people, myself included. Back then, none of us simply had the time or resources to make such an undertaking happen. Fortunately, while I still don’t really have the time personally, I now have the resources in the way of paid staff that I can have plan and execute such an event, so mid-2011 or so I decided to do so.
Archive for the ‘AHA!’ Category
This post was originally entitled “SecTor 2010”, however I never actually attended the conference, so it’s not really about the conference but rather my short stay in Toronto during the SecTor 2010 conference.
This last weekend I took a trip up to Montreal for REcon. If you’re unfamiliar with REcon, it’s a small security conference focused on topics most interesting to reverse engineers. As such, the talks are more technical than you will find at other more mainstream conferences like BlackHat or DEFCON, and generally require a certain level of expertise as a baseline. If you don’t understand assembly language, you’ll probably not get much out of at least half of the lectures.
Since the early ’90s, when I first really started getting into information security and the hacking scene, I’ve always found immense value in social hacker meetings. Back then all I had was my local 2600 meeting, however today, depending on your place of residence, there may be many different types of meetings available to you ranging from black to white-hat orientations such as 2600, local-area DefCon groups, the regional *Sec groups like NoVASec and SeaSec, various security user groups like NTSUG, and independent groups like AHA!
The groups that I’ve participated in over the years which include both Dallas and Ft. Worth 2600 meetings, dc214, and AHA! have vastly contributed to my personal experience and continued success in my career and have definitely helped to get me to where I am today. Nowadays I simply won’t do without them.
I am continually impressed by both the quantity and quality of speakers we have at our Austin Hackers Anonymous (AHA!) meetings every month. This last meeting was our 7th technical meeting and we had no less than 10 individual speakers with anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes each, each with something unique and interesting to talk about. The variety of subject matter was simply astounding.
I’m truly grateful to be surrounded by so many incredibly smart security people here in Austin. I hope we can continue to maintain this level of quality.
Last wednesday we had our second AHA! technical meeting at the Austin Public Library. For anyone that didn’t know, the various branches of the APL have meeting and conference rooms available for use by the public if you can prove a non-profit status.
So far I’m really happy with the format of the meetings being a bunch of “turbo-talks” (presentations under 15 minutes in length). Not only does it keep me from getting bored but there’s always a wide range of things that people are talking about so there’s usually something for everyone.
We’ve recently put up a wiki site to hold slide decks from some of the talks at the meetings and short descriptions of the talks. Check it out if you’re interested in finding out what we’ve been talking about or want the details for the next meeting.