InfoSec13 Day 3, A Few Good Men (And A Woman) And The (Possibly) Shady Side Of The Industry

In the life I lead I very rarely sit still for very long. I’m always on the move and like to keep active. So I guess it was no surprise that all the sitting around at BSides London on Wednesday left me with some back pain. No problem though thought I as I still have a few days off work and Thursday could see me spend the whole day in a hot bath if necessary, followed by an evening of #SecChat with McAfee Business (sorry I missed that guys).

Of course thats not how things actually panned out – I popped onto Twitter for a few minutes and saw that Bruce Hallas was asking if I’d be at Earls Court. Having spoken to Bruce on the phone recently, and having a high level of interest in his The Anologies Project (I can’t recommend this enough – check it out), I was instantly tempted but still slightly put off by my lower back pain.

One piping hot bath later, however, and I’d received an email from Catalin Cosoi, Communications Director for BitDefender. Now this is someone else I really like, can listen to for hours, and he was offering beer so, you know, the trip back into London just had to be made!

I duly made the long trek back to Earls Court with the later start making a huge difference – I actually got a seat on the Tube which made the trip altogether much more pleasant than on the previous two days.

Of course things couldn’t remain so easy all day so when I got into the exhibition centre I managed a full lap of the stands without spotting anyone I know. Nevermind thought I, a tweet should unearth at least someone to talk to. And that led to Jitender Arora (I must and will catch up with the guy properly some time) saying hi and saying he was in the VIP lounge from which I was almost immediately kicked out of when I attempted entry :)

Ho hum.

So back to the exhibits goes I and some interesting conversations followed.

Some of the interesting things that were said to me were entirely unsubstantiated but, nonetheless, quite believable. For reasons that should be entirely obvious I’m not going to publish any of them but lets just say that one security company appears to be full of s*&t when it comes to boasting about their market share and another may (or may not) be in cahoots with their national intelligence agency.

Furthermore, there was a story about how a well known figure may (allegedly) be involved in a little corruption via taking bribes in return for, hmmm, ‘something’.¬†True or not? Who knows. But it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

So, with that out of the way I finally caught up with Bruce Hallas. Theres something about him that makes him instantly recognisable – he just seems to have a presence of some sort. And hes great to talk to as well. He has huge plans for The Analogies Project and his passion for it is plain to see. He also had plenty of encouragement for myself that was hugely appreciated.

As a result of meeting Bruce I became introduced to Wendy Goucher who is someone else I could probably sit and listen to all day, not only because of what she has to say, but also because of the way in which she delivers her information. If you ever get the opportunity to speak to Wendy then her work on security education for children in the Middle East sounds absolutely fascinating.

On the way out of InfoSec I got another treat – @J4vv4d and @sirjester were filming a video that looks like it could be pretty darn funny but I’ll let them release it before giving anything away about what they were up to.

Next stop was a local pub with Catalin and a couple of other guys from BitDefender. They were all great to talk to but, alas, looked more like his minders – Ligia is so much prettier I have to say :)

I found out plenty about the company’s plans and look forward to getting my hands on their 2014 security programs and seeing for myself how the new 7 day reporting works out.

As they left I thought of going home myself but some more interesting people had found the pub and so I ended up in a very good conversation with @sirjester who may have given me more to think about that he realised – I shall definitely be taking his advice on board (thanks mate!).

Bruce was also on hand to give more words of wisdom and his off the cuff analogy about ships, wind and rudders is something I won’t forget in a hurry.

My only regret of the evening is that I’m sure I spotted @anthonymfreed but didn’t get around to saying hi. Hopefully there will be another opportunity for that in the future.

So, all in all, was it worth making the trip back to Earls Court despite the back pain I experienced all day?

If I’d just gone to see the exhibitors then I’d probably say the following –

BSides

– but as it was it was entirely worthwhile.

I learned a huge amount this week and especially yesterday.

Someone told me I lacked confidence and in terms of the security field they were 100% right with that observation. But now my confidence level has picked up somewhat and my previously lacking enthusiasm is almost completely restored.

I’ve met a large number of people over the last few days who have told me that what I do is not entirely without value (thank you Brian, Bruce, Andy, Peter and everyone else who has had kind or helpful words for me).

Now all I need to do is believe that myself!

Thanks to @pedrostephano for both taking the above picture and giving permission for its use.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

Comments

  1. Lee, apologies that I could not meet up with you properly. Paul and Dan arrived almost at the same time before our Keynote Big Debate session. I wanted to meet up with both and get introduced prior to the session. I am really sorry about not able to spend time with you. It was truly a pleasure to meet you briefly. It’s people like you that makes going to such event worthwhile. Hope to catchup soon mate.

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