Infosecurity Europe and B-Sides London 2013

I admit that my last blog about the week of Infosecurity Europe and B-Sides London was a bit ranty, and a week on from the end of those shows, I figured it would be good to reflect more rationally.

So while my infosec period really started a few weeks before with PR approaches for meetings, the week itself began with some of those meetings I decided to go ahead with. The first was with Neustar, with whom I enjoyed a rather magnificent pub lunch here and talked about their DDoS report, which I thought was pretty insightful.

I followed this with first meeting with BeyondTrust CTO Marc Maiffret. I first met the company a year before and with him raising his profile, we naturally talked about vulnerability management and the company’s direction. This article remains in the ‘to be written’ pile. In the evening I had the choice of social events with Eclat PR or HP, and as the former was a few steps away from where I was, I went for it.

What I found was a distinct lack of journalists, plenty of HP execs and thankful PR people. What I got was execs representing the security brands of HP and some insight into how they are being bound together; again one for the ‘to be written pile’ but should prove interesting for fans and users of Arcsight, Tipping Point and Fortify.

So the first day of Infosec began with me meeting with Tripwire for breakfast, where we mainly covered the recent acquisition of nCircle and quite frankly, where they had been since Gene Kim left and they were acquired by Thoma Bravo.

Without turning this into a food blog, I went here and it was magnificent, but then it always is. I was also delighted to bump into a fellow security journalist here, whom I saw pretty much every hour of the next three days.

Into Infosec and I attended the first of two talks on APTs, this by Cassidian and the other by AhnLabs. For the rest of the day, I squeezed in meetings with infosecurity luminaries Jack Daniel, Amrit Williams, ChrisBoyd and Amichai Shulman, while spending more time getting out of the press office (it ain’t easy being so popular) than actually writing any of these up. You can see how shows normally work for me can’t you?

In the evening I not only attended, but opened the annual SC awards and hosted a table with my colleague Carolyn and some brilliant people, including Javvad Malik who turned up with two blogger awards (presented earlier in the evening) and Brian Honan, who added the SC Magazine Information Security Person of the Year award to his blogger award. Laying the two down with the blogger award on top though, we’ll remember that one… J

If you want to know what my memories are of the SC awards, the answer would be few. Not because of alcohol consumption, but because it went past so quickly. I arrived early for rehearsal, spent half an hour trying to connect to the wifi (so I could live tweet the awards) and got locked in the disabled toilet. Classy! The full details on the winners can be found here – http://www.scawardseurope.com/.

The next morning, after four hours sleep, saw me meet Forescout for a bloody good breakfast (here if you’re interested) in Sloane Square, before I went to the wrong Kensington Town Hall for B-Sides London. After a painful bus trip (crying babies on a sweaty bus with me tired and probably slightfully hungover, nice) got me to the other KensingtonTown Hall for B-Sides London.

As I arrived late, I missed David Rook/Security Ninja’s apparently brilliant talk on his company’s application security story, hope to see this another time. However arriving while talks were taking place did allow me to see a few friends on the exhibitor/lunch floor, namely Thom Langford, Nik Barron and Sir Jester, whose name I’ve forgotten again!

Into sessions, and Javvad’s talk on building a brand was excellent, as were the other talks I attended by Candid Wuest on sophistication of malware and Gavin Ewan on social engineering. I guess B-Sides gives me a break from infosec in that as a journalist I am seeing a different crowd speak and socialise, I get time to write and the main thing is the networking with a new crowd. I attended B-Sides last year as well as other cons such as Brucon and Irisscon, and they offer something different from the norm.

Sadly I didn’t make it to the rookie track or any of the workshops, and apart from sticking my head into the main hall, I was primarily in the smaller hall upstairs, but it was good to see some well known industry figures.

Into Wednesday night, and I attended FireEye’s party (brilliantly hosted across the road from B-Sides London) and for fear of too many late nights in one week, I avoided the B-Sides afterparty and on my way to the bus stop, and walked past Andy Barrett, who I am still officially to ‘meet’.

Into the final day of infosec, and I again had a silly early start but incredibly worthwhile meeting with Dinis Cruz talking all matter of security issues, from problems with technology to training.

Heading back into Earls Court, I again attempted to file copy in record time before meetings with Sourcefire and AhnLab, in between seeing a very interesting talk by Juniper’s Bitar Nawaf on fingerprinting attackers to identify them by metrics.

Through a combination of shuffling sessions and meetings, I managed to find some time to hit the infosec floor and see a few well known people, including vendors, analysts, journalists and the general spokespeople. I managed to make time to hit the show floor at RSA USA in February, and it is a shame not to see the exhibition area at a show, mainly because you get an appreciation of what some vendors do, see what the security executives see and catch up with people.

At 4pm on Thursday, Infosecurity Europe was closed and I will not lie, after all the work that went into it, I was a little disappointed. After all, after working like a madman for three days and finding time to write stories, I was back to normal.

So that was my week. You may ask why I met those particular people and why I attended those sessions? Well the truth is I picked what looked interesting and I hope what I produced was interesting.

These were my views on last week, if you want to read more there are some really good perspectives on these sites:

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One thought on “Infosecurity Europe and B-Sides London 2013

  1. Good write up of the week Dan, Just to assure you I laid the Blogger award on top of the SC Award so as the spike at the back of the blogger award would not impale anyone on the night 🙂

    In an ironic twist on my way through Heathrow airport my hand luggage was stopped at the security check for an “enahnced” search. Cue the contents of the case being taken out for the whole world to see until the security person came across the SC Award. Due to its shape and size it set off an alert in the scanning machine. The person checking the bag did see the funny side in the award for “Information Security Person of the Year” creating a minor security alert at the airport 🙂

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