This year I have been able to go to a bunch of conferences.  There was BRRCon, and DefCon and even Tenable Edge (vendor con where I can’t fin the link to anymore).  This week – BSidesMSP.

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I wrote about all of the other cons, pro and con in my previous, non backed up, lost to too much futzing around dev blog.  Because that’s what dev blogs are for.

The big difference between the other three and this one is, this time I didn’t just attend.  I was a first time con speaker and a volunteer at the DC612 lock pick table.  I got to do it all!

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I was given a cool Bowling/Gas Station Attendant shirt for speaking.  Also, I was an attendee.

The organizer and the event volunteers were amazing.  Being there the night before to help setup was great.  I got to meet people who were working and learn the layout of the land.

Day one was keynotes, then I was manning the lock pick table.  Before I got to the table I was stopped by a gentleman while I was walking.  He called my name.  I didn’t know him.  Then I realized my name was on my shirt.  Damn, OSINT!

Turns out he works for the vendor I was going to talk smack speak about the next day.  We communicated on the community forums and he was able to help out with some script writing I had been working on a while back.  It was great!  I got to meet someone from the internet and it wasn’t creepy like it was in the early 00s.

We hung out.  We picked some locks.  He said he’d be at the talk the next day and not heckle Gabe or me.  I appreciated that, and was happy we’d have at least one person in the audience.

I was able to get to Harvesting Botnets for Unusual Data where I got a great high level overview of what researchers are doing to follow the information and how these botnets work as a network.

Day 1 Ends – say good bye to new friends and hit Minneapolis traffic.  Ah, so glad I work from home.

Day 2 I was able to attend more presentations and the CTF started too.  The lock pick table was a part of the CTF and I lent my magic box from DefCon as a challenge.

At BrrCon I saw an excellent talk by Yolonda Smith on working with developers.  To totally break the talk down to one sentence, it was about communication.

Day 2 brought Can You Hear Me?  presented by Jessica Schalz, again about communication in what we do.

I’m noticing a theme here.  In our world where people talk over twitter and there is so much information, simple communication can go a long way. There was a great talk about Top Gun from Jason Blanchard at Black Hills Info Security.  Or was it about persuading people?  I think that’s what it was about.

Kat did an awesome presentation showing us all how secure peoples’ computers in the cloud are.


Then it was time for Gabe and I.


I was happily surprised at the number of people in the room who were using Nessus.  It made me hopeful that the work we had done can help or give some people ideas on how to work around all the issues we ran into.  Hopefully people will find the tools helpful.

The crowd was smaller then the other talks I went to.  The crowd was also much more homogeneous.  Most of the crowd looked like me.  Maybe with some more hair, but looked like me.  I mention this because this isn’t what I saw when I was walking the con.  Here and at BrrCon there was an array of people and viewpoints, just not at my talk.

I had to skip out early right after my talk when my kid got sick so I didn’t get to after party but like BrrCon and unlike DefCon I walked away from this with a really good feeling about the people and the industry I chose to enter.

People want to learn.  People want to make things good.  People want to include people. People want people to succeed.

I can keep supporting that!