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.
Posts Tagged ‘blackhat’
Last week and through the weekend I was in Las Vegas for this year’s annual block of hacker conferences, BlackHat USA and DEFCON. This year was a bit different for me as my employer no longer covers conference expenses (even if you’re speaking!), so since I was there not representing a company and entirely on my own dime, I stayed with some local friends for the first half of my stay and did a lot less gambling… none actually. My gracious hosts did a lot of ferrying me around for the first half of my stay as well to help me avoid cab fares.
One of the highlights of BlackHat was obviously the Pwnie Awards. This industry awards ceremony, highlighting the successes and failures of the security industry of the past year, has quickly become one of my favorite parts of BlackHat. If you’re interested, you can find this year’s nominees and winners listed over at the Pwnie Awards website. The impromptu dinner afterward was very enjoyable as well, where I shared a meal with the likes of the lovely Shyama Rose, that beef-hunk (nsfw) Alex Sotirov, Pusscat, who needs no introduction, the code machine I call a boss, HD Moore, some d00d from Rhode Island, slow, and a slew of other interesting and intelligent people.
I didn’t make it to many parties this year, but one of the few BlackHat parties that I did make it to was the Microsoft party over at Treasure Island. An awesome mix of people made for some good conversations, but the music indoors was horrible… The DJ was playing all kinds of early-90’s tunes like Bel Biv Devoe, Boys II Men, etc. Outside the music was much better (house!) except that the DJ kept having to stop the music for any number of reasons, the longest of which being the Pirate show going off just outside the balcony on the waterfront between the club and the street.
Overall BlackHat was a fairly enjoyable experience. I would have liked to have seen more of the presentations but due to an extremely late night Wednesday night culminating in my friend locking himself out of his hotel suite, soaking wet, in his boxers, I ended up sleeping late on Thursday and then attempted to get over to DEFCON early to get registered and get one of the electronic badges to play with. You can however read my thoughts on the various presentations I did see below: