That was the week that was; InfoSec Europe, BSides and the Security Bloggers Network

?????????????????????????????????????????A lot of good stuff has already been written about this last week with regards to BSides London, InfoSecurity Europe and the Security Blogger awards, so this post is a personal recollection after the haze of too many late nights, early mornings and good times.

Tuesday 29th bought BSides London, and once again the volunteers surpassed themselves; it retained two tracks but definitely felt expanded with the workshops and a new location for the rookie track. The organizers should feel rightly proud of what they have done, and those of you who didn’t turn up on the day (and therefore denied others of a ticket) should take good long look at themselves in the mirror.

photo 5

The Danger Zone Dream Team

I had to spend the afternoon over at Infosecurity Europe as I was on a panel titled “One big threat to cyber security: IT Geeks can’t talk to management” alongside Dwayne Melancon and Stephen Bonner. It was only 25 minutes long but I felt we managed to push a lot of good advice and takeaways into it, and the conversations continued afterwards in the hallway. I even managed to get a reference to Kenny Loggins into one answer, something I feel rightfully proud of.

BmZdYWHIIAAf1Lq.jpg-large

Joseph & Ian rocking the BSides Rookie Track

photo 1

Trying to look young again…

Then back to BSides to see Joseph Gwynne-Jones speak on the rookie track. I was mentoring Joseph this year, and to be honest I found it very challenging as Joseph is profoundly deaf; we couldn’t speak in the run up to BSides and could only communicate over email and Twitter. I advised as best I could, reviewed slides etc, but what was crucial was the ability of his interpreter being able to effectively communicate the jargon etc on the day. Given Joseph wouldn’t meet him until the morning of the conference this would be quite a challenge. As it turned out Ian Hodgetts  did a marvelous job, and was also on hand to interpret into British Sign Language (BSL) of all of the talks Joseph went to. We believe this is a first for an info security conference. Joseph obviously did an absolutely cracking job and I was able to spend some time with him and Ian afterwards talking about what else we could do in the future to improve further. It was an eye opener for me, and an absolute education in how important it is to communicate clearly and effectively in these kinds of conferences to absolutely everyone who attends. At the after party I was able to wear the hoody that was generously given to me by the Abertay Ethical Hacking Society, and feel like a student again (if not look like one).

photo 4

Best Personal Security Blog

Wednesday bought Infosec Europe again after a few early morning meetings, (including some scheming and rubbing of hands with invisible soap with the good folks of 44CON at the 44Cafe – I can’t wait for September!) but the highlight was of course the Security Bloggers Awards. Between me and Host Unknown I was up for eight awards in total, and came away with the award for Best Personal Security Blog, again! I was both surprised and touched that I was able to get this award again. Host Unknown didn’t fare as well unfortunately, but I can guarantee that the next twelve months will put us in a very strong position for next year, both at the European awards as well as the USA awards at RSA. Unfortunately Andrew was indisposed to help us collect a Host Unknown prize (that we didn’t win).

BmobKKsIgAAdZfj.jpg-large

Confirming what everyone already knew

(I have said this before but will say it again, everyone who is not only involved but also nominated for the blogger awards represents the very best of our industry in that they are all contributing their time and expertise to the community; I can’t recommend enough that if you are reading this that you also read their blogs too. Also, none of this would have happened without Brian Honan, Jack Daniel, Tenable, Tripwire and Firemon; thank you all.

Thursday bought another panel, this time in the Keynote Theatre with a panel on “Risk and control: Effective risk assessment methodologies to drive security strategy and investment” (alongside Vicki Gavin, Paul Haywood and moderated very well by Dave Clemente. It was a good, vibrant session and with plenty of questions both during and after the session.

photo 2

Inspired by the success of the CI Double SP film, we create a band called “CISS (P)”

A selfie, with a very famous CISO of Restricted Intelligence

A selfie, with a very famous CISO of Restricted Intelligence

Finally for the afternoon I got involved in only what can be termed a “flash mob” for Twist & Shout (as soon as that is released I will show it here!) and then got engrossed in the hallway track with the likes of Shan Lee, Quentyn Taylor, Peter Stephens, Jim Shields, Dave Lewis, Wim Remes, of course my conference partner in crime Javvad, and the lovely folks of Eskenzi and Acumin.

If there is one thing that is apparent form the above it is that any conference week is only valuable from the people you meet there. This list must be barely 10% of the people I shook hands with, shared a drink or said hello to, all of whom influence me to one degree or another. Whatever your thoughts on the infosec conference scene, this aspect alone is what makes it worthwhile. Apologies to anyone and everyone I have missed out.

InfoSecurity Europe is a show that has gone from strength to strength over the last few years, with the education programme improving; combine this with an excellent BSides London Conference, this week in Europe is one to look out for (although next year Infosec Europe and BSides will be from 2nd to 4th June at Olympia).


European Security Blogger Awards 2013 – a Thank You and an important tip

The Beautiful Trophy Itself

One of the Shiny, Beautiful Trophies

Just over a week ago the good, the awesome and the rockstars of the European blogging scene centred upon the the function room of the Prince of Teck pub in Earls Court for the inaugural European Security Blogger Awards of 2013. The atmosphere had a nervous tension and a strong feeling of anticipation (as well as a few bow ties for some other award going on immediately after that night!). These awards would not have happened if it wasn’t for two gentlemen in particular, namely Jack Daniel (@jack_daniel) and Brian Honan (@brianhonan) and without the sponsorship of Tenable (for the bar) and Qualys (for the trophies themselves). Both of them organised this off their own backs, were extremely gracious hosts and ultimately did this for the betterment of the European infosec community, and I wish to recognise that formally.

Thank you Jack and Brian, and to our sponsors.

But moving onto the awards themselves; after an initial round of blind nominations, the finalists were announced on Saturday 13th April and a no doubt frenzied bout of voting commenced, interspersed by all the finalists vying for your votes. My favourite had to be this one from Kai Roer (@kairoer), someone certainly not known for his modesty!

Kaibloggeraward

But aside from my evil twin shamelessly and quite rightly asking for votes (he has a great blog, check him out!) there were regular reminders and links from Brian and Jack to get voting and many retweets. I’m not sure how many votes were cast but I imagine they were well into the hundreds.

And so the night came, and after a day at Infosecurity Europe just over the road, and the practising of our “disappointed we didn’t win but SO happy for the winner” faces, it was down to Jack to announce the nominees and winner. They are listed below, but before that I want to move onto the tip I promised in the title…

Below are links to some of the smartest minds in our industry, and not only that, but they are willing to share their knowledge with you, for free. In any industry that is a rare gift to be given so I would like to encourage everyone who reads this to visit some of these blogs and follow them on Twitter, and also actively participate in the discussions, opinions and (dare I say it) thought leadership that is being presented. As a blogger myself I know the thrill of discussing a topic with someone, whether they agree with me or not. If you disagree with something that is being said, then politely and respectfully say so and put your point across. Even a simple message of support or a ‘Like’ means these people are going to be more likely to continue to blog and share their ideas with you in the future. And of course, if you think you can do better we would welcome you with open arms; this is not an exclusive club.

And so, without further ado, and a final thank you to Brian and Jack, here are the results of the European Security Blogger Awards 2013!

Best Corporate Security Blog
Malware Must Die
Sophos Naked Security Blog  < WINNER!
F-Secure Labs Blog
Countermeasures
SecurityWatch
SCRT Information Security
Cyberis Blog
Security for UK Legal Professionals
Holistic Security Blog
Securelist

Best Security Podcast
Finux Tech Weekly 
Eurotrash Security Podcast  < WINNER!

Best Security Video Blog
Christian008
Info Cynic < WINNER!
Security Tube

Best Personal Security Blog
Chat Back Security
Neira Jones
/Dev/Random
Pentest-n00b
The Roer Information Security Blog
SecurityWatch
Make IT compliant – Security and Compliance
Naked Security
Thom Langford  < WINNER!

Most Entertaining Blog
The Gentleman Hackers Club
Info Cynic  < WINNER!
Sophos Naked Security Blog
Holistic Security Blog

Most Educational Blog
Sophos Naked Security Blog
Infosec Cynic
HTML5 Security
Security Watch  < WINNER!
Securelist
Holistic Security Blog
Professor Alan Woodward Blog
Offensive Coder
Bruce Hallas 

Best New Security Blog
Jitender’s blog
Advent IM Security For Schools
Chatback Security
Marlin Brighton Blog
Dave Waterson on Security  < WINNER!

Best EU Security Tweeter
@rik_ferguson < WINNER!
@jameslyne
@_securitycat
@ChrisJohnRiley
@quentynblog
@j4vv4d
@brianhonan
@xme
@securityspeak
@gcluley
@n0x00
@0x6D6172696F
@mikko

Grand Prix Prize for the Best Overall Security Blog
Sophos Naked Security Blog < WINNER!
Infosec Cynic
F-Secure
Security Watch
Light Blue Touchpaper
Holistic Security Blog
Didier Steven’s Blog
Bruce Hallas 

If you made it this far you may have noticed I was very honoured and pleasantly surprised to have won Best Personal Security Blog, and against some real industry heavyweights too. My thanks to all of those that voted for me, it means the world to me.


One Award, Two Conferences and a Surprise in the Works

IMG_2138IMG_2153I am just returning from a very full three days in west London for the annual infosec conference season. I will do my best to name as many of the wonderful people I met throughout all three days, both new and old, but if I miss a namecheck or two, forgive me, let me know, and I will rectify immediately!

Tuesday bought the kick off of InfoSec Europe. After a quick run round to get some schwag  and chat with a few key vendors I had lunch with Cindy (@cindyv), Dwayne (@thatdwayne), Jitender (@jitenderarora), Javvad (@j4vv4d) and Brian (@brianhonan) to chat about RSA Europe and our proposed submissions. This was quickly followed by a couple of panels in the Keynote theatre (one moderated by Javvad) and then some good gossiping with Brian and Neira (@neirajones) before heading off to one the two award ceremonies of the night.

Well goodness, gosh and golly!

Well goodness, gosh and golly!

It was at this point the evening took a somewhat surreal turn. Having been nominated for Best Personal Security Blog at the inaugural European Security Bloggers Awards, I was both deeply honoured and supremely surprised to win!  I was also very proud to see Javvad pick up two awards as well. To say that the evening started to blur somewhat from that point on would be an understatement, but I am glad to say that the award itself did make it home safely. I did spend quite some time talking with Dwayne and Jack (@jackdaniel), predominantly about the mysogeny that still manages to find its way into infosec trade shows through booth babes that were supposedly banned form this years infosec show (looking at you ForeScout…) and then about possibly spinning up a BSides in India. Jack proved what a class act he was by offering to advise anyone who would be willing to take on this mantle in India, something I am hoping to encourage. I will be posting more on the awards in the next few days but suffice to say a huge thank you to Brian and Jack for making these awards happen.

Wednesday bought BSidesLondon. Whilst I was very disappointed not to have been able to speak it did take the pressure off considerably and I was able to enjoy a few good talks

Javvad and his heroes

Javvad and his heroes

(javvad and Stephen Bonner, @stephenbonner) and some great conversations with friends and colleagues. Max (@hoolers) if you are reading this, I apologise unreservedly for not getting around to having the chat I promised! I also managed to meet my “rookie” for the Rookie Track, Gavin (@gavinholt), as well as a great chat with Leron (@le_rond). Halfway through the afternoon I had to head back to InfoSec for my a panel I was a part of on BYOD and Consumerisation. This went very well, was entertaining and informative in my opinion, and despite two attempts at distracting me by Geordie Stewart and Andrew (@sirjester) completed without incident!

View from the panel

View from the panel

A quick visit to the RANT forum (@rantforum) was followed by a couple of drinks at the BSidesLondon after party and then an early night.

Thursday bought a couple of early meetings including Bruce to discuss the Analogies Project (@analogies) which is always a pleasure. I then formally went on vacation…

The rest of the day was taken up with filming for a project I am involved in with Javvad, Andrew and the very talented Jim (@jimshields) of Twist & Shout. More of that to follow in the coming few weeks but I am incredibly excited at what this project may bring not just to me personally but also to the infosec community as a whole (for instance, a sense of humour…).

After dinner with @secwonk, @gattaca, @turbodog, @anthonymfreed, Cindy, Javvad and Andrew, a weary but very satisfied Mr Langford returned home.

Highlights

  • Winning the Best Personal Security Blog Award
  • Thursday afternoon (see above)
  • ForeScout’s apparent admittance that they needed booth babes to help sell their product

Lowlights

  • Missing Gavin’s presentation because of a scheduling conflict
  • Not finding myself spoilt for choice for presentations to attend at BSides – I thought the choice was predominantly technical and not as broad as last year. Still a great conference, well run and with a huge amount of talent; just less applicable to me this year.