Security BSides -Community and Communication

It started as a little idea, but it has grown into the Next Big Thing. About a year ago a few people received notices that their proposals for presentations at BlackHat had been declined and they expressed their disappointment on Twitter. After seeing some of the great talks that were turned down, someone suggested holding an alternate event that would give speakers an opportunity to give their talks and let people to hear them.

A great deal of scrambling and a few short weeks later, Security BSides Las Vegas happened during the week of BlackHat and DefCon, and it was amazing. A core group of people, assisted by a large group of volunteers, speakers and sponsors put together a two-day event which offered great presentations on a wide mix of topics, a fun environment, and encouraged conversation and participation. Before Security BSides Las Vegas ended, plans had begun for Security BSides San Francisco, to run parallel to the RSA Security Conference, and the BSides phenomenon took off from there. Security BSides conferences are about the community, they are run by and for the participants, and provide a venue for talks and presentations which might not “fit” in other venues. BSides events are also free to attend, so they are a great way to get security education on a tight budget. Each BSides event has its own feel and style, some run parallel to larger events, others are stand-alone, and most are run by members of the local security community. As it says on the Security BSides website:

“Each BSides is a community-driven event built for and by information security community members. The goal is to expand the spectrum of conversation beyond the traditional confines of space and time. It creates opportunities for individuals to both present and participate in an intimate atmosphere that encourages collaboration. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from participants. It is where conversations for the next-big-thing are happening.”

There have now been BSides events in Las Vegas, Mountain View (CA), Austin and Boston. There are several BSides events happening this summer and fall:

  • June 18 BSidesDenver “Mile High Security”
  • July 28-29 BSidesLasVegas – coinciding with Black Hat / Defcon
    • This will be a huge event, the venue is amazing:
    • The speaker lineup will include both “headliners”, and new speakers, covering a wide variety of topics- many that you will not hear anywhere else.
  • September 17 BSidesKC (coinciding with an InfraGard supported Cyber-RAID CyberWarefare event)
  • September 24-25 Brussels, Belgium, coinciding with BruCon
  • October 8 BSidesAtlanta
  • TBD BsidesChicago
  • November 6 BSidesDFW “Don't mess with Security”
  • November 12-13 BSidesOttawa

BSides events are not just a place for experienced speakers, due to the friendly and helpful nature of the community BSides are great places for new or less-experienced speakers to deliver their message in a comfortable environment. The events also strive to provide comfortable spaces for side conversations, or to continue a discussion after a presentation. If you are going to be near any of the upcoming events, please register, attend, and participate.

Why am I writing about BSides events on the Astaro Security Perspectives blog? Well there are a couple of reasons. The first is that education and open discussion is a critical part of securing networks and improving technology in general. How can we solve issues if we don't talk about them? BSides events foster this kind of open and honest communication that mainstream conferences just aren't able to accommodate. Astaro is a supporter of this type of open communications as well as the Bsides conferences and I thought members of our community would be interested in this type of event.



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