Thursday, March 19, 2015

BSides Austin 2015

In the old days of rock 'n' roll 45 rpm records, the "A" side was the hit release and the "B" side was just something else by the group.  The Beatles broke the decade-long precedent by topping the charts with both A-side and B-side songs.  At DefCon 17 (July 2009), the speaker proposals were over-subscribed, so some of them held their own "on the b-side."  B-Sides Austin goes back six years to 2009.  (BSides Wiki here.)  This year continued the trend for informative speakers, entertaining extras, great vendor support, and engaged participation within the computer security community of Austin.
Volunteer Staging in Preparation for the Opening 

About 300 Austin Computer Security Professionals Attended
Issuing ID, lanyards, t-shirts, and tote bags,
orienting the attendees,
and basically bringing normalized database order
to a Markov Chain. 
Our social media coordinator
tweeted his thumbs off
It all hinges on the sponsors.
Without them,
the conference would cost four times as much.
Coffee from the Denim Group
The Opening Session
IBM was gracious and supportive. I got a "Think" ballcap.
Rapid 7, ISSA, Kaspersky Lab, Praetorian, IOActive, 

Digital Defense, Synack, OpenDNS,
LastPass, Splunk, 

and the Independence Brewing Company
also underwrote the conference.

(Full list at
Two job boards
begged for analysts, engineers, and architects.
(The Premera breach was not yet admitted.)
Lock picking is part of hacker culture
as explained …
…in Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution
by Steven Levy (1984).
Worth one thousand words.
Friday Keynote Speaker
Reuben Paul (link among others) interviewed.
Conference coordinator
Richard Stephens meets the media.
Austin Fire Marshall Larry Jantzen
spoke at lunch on the 2nd day,
explaining the multifaceted work of his department.
BSides Austin has a love-hate relationship with the Fire Marshall
because he closed our evening session the first year
for violating the attendance limits.
Security is security, physical or cyber.
Breakout session speaker Aamir Lakhami
worked as an advisor on
Big Bang Theory and The Avengers.
I volunteered to serve as master of ceremonies for Track 2. I introduced speakers. Basically, I looked them up on LinkedIn; and then I met them at the conference to get the kind of interesting and positive  things that most people would not know. I timed the talks, kept them on schedule, and counted the audience before and after.

I met Earl Carter from Cisco Systems. Josh Pyorre from OpenDNS, Kate Brew of the Alien Vault and her colleague Charisse Castagnoli (adjunct professor of law at the John Marshall Law School, among other affiliations), Aamir Lakhmi from Fortinet, Praetorian's Julian Dunning, and IoActive's Damon Small. (Damon was at the Happy Hour the night before.)  My sessions closed with Roxy D of Firehost and Mike Sconzo of Bit 9 + Carbon Black.

Also on NecessaryFacts
BSides Austin 2013 
Your Cell Phone is not Safe
Securing Your Viper Against Cylons

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