Tag Archives: bsides

Post RSA musings

So it finally happened – I’ve had my first RSA in 9 years.

And what an experience. Suffice to say that I ended that week with no voice, a bad back, and minimally functioning knees, but given the premise of the show I’d peg is as a huge success.

First – having BSides to catch up with friends and colleagues was a perfect beginning to the week (not to mention the weekend in Napa right before – thanks for having me, Tenable!). There still is a huge value that I see in BSides, and BSidesSF specifically. Albeit the great venue (thanks OpenDNS), some more hallway-con was sorely missed. Be it the way the venue is laid out (preventing from more active/vocal discussions from happening other than outside), or the decision to run a dry venue (not even bring your own alcohol), I’d want to see how peer-engagement gets more focus there.

Second – the ability to “hack” RSA from a technical person’s perspective, and yes, I still consider myself somewhat technical, regardless of my ability to don on a suite and behave like a business guy. Which is sort of what hacking RSA is… It was intriguing having interactions with people outside of the echo-chamber (aka infosec) who deal with security and having them take a preconceived notion of me as a sales person. Or with those who gravitated to me as “I needed to talk to someone who is technical” – probably after snooping around a bit and choosing their approach based on existing conversations ๐Ÿ˜‰

Last (and I saved the downer for here) – the show floor. After getting over the sheer size of the convention (no worries – BlackHat has a way to go until it becomes an RSA), I had my expectations adjusted a bit. Walking through the halls, you get into a realization that a lot of the companies showing there (especially the south hall) should probably have no reason to exist. The same regurgitation of “threat intelligence”, “endpoint protection” (i.e. APT, 0day, etc…), and your usual “trust me, I’m an engineer” approaches, were becoming comical to a point where I’d need to keep my gaze pointed far away and ignore the noise while walking around. I truly expected to see some new innovative approaches to security, and companies who would break out of the circle-jerk of security vendors. Unfortunately I didn’t see many, the reason forย which I can’t really put my finger on (maybe the cost of entry to RSA?).

Overall, a great experience (and yes – lots of new business too), so yes, I believe my #notatrsa streak has come to an end. Or maybe I’m just getting old ๐Ÿ˜‰

2015-04-21 15.57.44

Yes – you can engage with other evangelists at RSA! (and what seemed like a weird obsession – collect truckloads of branded t-shirts and vendor giveaways).

Vegas 2012 by the Numbers

So, I’m finally back from a very long week in Vegas. How long you ask? well, here are some numbers that start to reflect how it felt:

  • Number of days in Vegas: 6+1 (un-planned extra day due to a missed flight)
  • Number of conferences attended: 3.5 (BlackHat, BSidesLV, Defcon, and IOAsis counts as a 1/2 con…)
  • Number of talks given: 2 (in the same day… BlackHat + BSidesLV)
  • Number of shipments to my room at Caesars: 3 (shirts, phone, and locks which ended up unused due to my failure to run the lockpick sessions at IOAsis ๐Ÿ™ )
  • Volunteer gigs: 2 (BSidesLV and Skytalks)
  • Average hours of sleep per night: 3 (and that’s really stretching it)
  • Number of nights I went to sleep after sunrise: 2
  • Average number of parties visited per night: 3 (Freakshow skewed the numbers as there was NO reason to leave that place…)
  • No. of phones I came in with: 1
  • No. of phones I left with: 3 (Thank you NinjaTel!)
  • Average no. of meals per day: 1 (I know… but Alcohol does not count as food unfortunately)
  • Gallons of booze consumed: probably illegal in some states.
  • No of friends I caught up with: not enough. And the ones I did manage to catch up with needed much more time ๐Ÿ™
  • Hangovers: 0 (keep drinking -> no hangover to deal with…)
  • Workouts: 2
  • Miles walked: waaaaay too many
  • Weight lost/gain: 3.5lbs lost. Guess that’s the result of adrenaline rushes, parties, Infected Mushroom, long walks in the hallways, not much food, and lots of alcohol.

Overall this was personally the best Vegas trip I’ve had. I did take up a little too much on myself that I should have (as a couple fo friends duly noted, and excused me for some fuckups due to that), and I wanted to meet so many more people that I managed to somehow miss this year.

Nevertheless, some of the experiences were priceless – like having a chat with Infected Mushroom and finding out that Erez used to run a BBS back in the days, and that (although I don’t like to mention my darker days of hacking) we “knew” the same scenes. Having the opportunity to help out with BSidesLV and being amazed again by our community and what it can achieve. Being inspired by so many people, and learning constantly. These are the things that really make up the week of BlackHat/BSides/Defcon for me. It’s not necessarily the talks, but the socializing and the opportunity to pick people’s brains on a personal basis which makes it worthwhile to get to the levels of exhaustion that this week takes you to.

Guess it’s time to wrap up and figure out what timezone my body is on…