You’d think that security professionals would get sick and tired of attending security conferences; RSAC, Black Hat, Defcon are the big ones that everyone tries to get to, plus a lot of mid-sized cons like Shmoocon and Toorcon. But the truth is, for most people, those are either business opportunities/obligations or so far away and costly that it’s nearly impossible to attend anything that requires travel, a hotel and several days away from work. Which is why smaller, local events like BayThreat, DojoCon and BSides are becoming so important to security professionals around the globe; the ability to go to a small, local event far outstrips the cost to value ratio of any of the big cons and it’s so much easier to actually see the speakers you want to see.
This last Friday and Saturday were BayThreat, and a huge thanks has to go out to @dewzi and the crew who organized the event. Held at the Hacker Dojo in Mountain View, CA, the event was far enough from home for me that I had to get a hotel room. But the majority of the attendees who live in the Bay Area were able to return home each night. Considering that a airfare and the hotel are the majority of the costs of many conferences and that BayThreat only cost $45 to attend, this was a huge draw for most attendees. And seeing the inside of Hacker Dojo was a plus as well.
I don’t know what the real count was, but the best guess I heard for attendees was somewhere between 150 and 200 attendees between Friday and Saturday. The speakers where some of the same people you might see at a major event like Black Hat, folks like Dan Kaminsky, Moxy Marlinspike and Dino Dai Zovi, but also a lot of great local speakers like Jeremiah Grossman, Allison Miller and Sam Bowne. I’m just hitting some of the high points, check out the list of speakers for yourself and you’ll see how many great presentations we were treated to this weekend.
Two of my personal favorites in the speaker track were Mike Smith’s presentation about DDoS, with a lot of information about the current situation about Wikileaks, and Steve Adegbite’s presentation “Rage against Security: A different Scene Shift”. Mike is giving the same talk at Dojocon after flying cross country last night, which may make the presentation more amusing, if not better. That’s not to say there weren’t other great presentations, there were, but I kept getting distracted by the hallway track and meeting many of the people who were just a twitter handle to me until this weekend.
I have to say that BayThreat is one of the first security conferences I’ve been too that’s left me wishing it was still going on when I headed for home. There’s a lot to be said for having a conference that’s short and sweet and doesn’t leave you spending the next week trying to recover from the hangover and exhaustion. But I still wanted more time to hang out with so many great people. And I’m looking forward to having another great event next year.
Update: Mike Smith’s DDoS slides have been uploaded to the BayThreat site.