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Industry Events

What Happened in Vegas: Memorable Moments from Hacker Summer Camp 2019

From reconnecting with peers from around the country and around the globe, to taking in talks from industry thought leaders, to having those “only in Las Vegas” moments at after-parties, there are no shortage of memorable experiences from Hacker Summer Camp. Looking back at this year’s B-Sides, Black Hat and DEF CON, here are some of the highlights that our team took home with them:

Peter Baker, Director of Brand & Digital Strategy

“The easy winner for me was working with Duo Labs on a short, fun video based on a mechanical contraption one of our researchers, Mikhail, crafted. Using a couple of cheap angle grinders, it rapidly launched our Duo Labs squeeze skulls into the desert. It was a great excuse to pull together extremely smart and inventive people and apply all of that collective intelligence towards a very dumb, but fun, stunt. And yes, we did pick up every single one of those toxic little pieces of swag.”

Meredith Corley, Head of Corporate Communications

“My mind is constantly blown by all of the incredibly brilliant professionals in the security industry at these shows. I particularly loved seeing how communications was such a huge focus at Black Hat this year, coming up time and again in both keynote addresses from Black Hat founder, Jeff Moss, and headliner, Dino Dai Zovi, to a highly technical audience. As Jeff put it, ‘Eighty percent of the problems we have as an industry are communications problems. We can fix this. Communications is a soft skill that leads to better technical outcomes, period.’ I couldn’t agree more! This was an exciting rallying cry for our growing community of technical communicators in all realms of the profession.”

Wendy Nather, Head of Advisory CISOs

“Sometimes in security, you have to improvise. The first step in building a zero-trust architecture is figuring out what the concept means for your organization. In ‘Whose Trust Is It Anyway? Building Zero Trust On The Fly,’ my ‘security improv’ presentation for Cisco’s booth, I discussed the Workforce, Workloads and Workplace and took prop suggestions from the audience to apply them in real time to Cisco’s Zero Trust framework.”

Zoe Lindsey, Advocacy Marketing Manager

“It was encouraging to see a very active discussion on the human element of security running through all of B-Sides, Black Hat and DEF CON. One talk at B-Sides that I was especially happy to see was "Broken Arrow: Applying InfoSec and Forensic Practices to Escape Domestic Abuse," presented by Will Baggett, where he provided some actionable checklists of steps that victims of abuse can follow to minimize their own risk. I would also give a big shout out to Trace Labs who ran an open-source intelligence (OSINT) CTF at both B-Sides and DEF CON, using real missing persons cases and having participants search for additional information that might help bring someone home safe.

The idea that we’re all in this together, that we have an ethical duty to protect the vulnerable whether they’re at work or in the world at large, is one that has always resonated with me. It’s why I always love listening to what folks like Wendy Nather, Kelly Shortridge, Leigh Honeywell and others have to say, and it’s incredibly encouraging to see that attitude spreading wider in our industry.”


Dennis Fisher, Decipher.sc Editor in Chief

“Seeing Cult of the Dead Cow members Adam O'Donnell and Luke Benfey alongside legends Dug Song, Katie Moussouris, Heather Adkins and moderator Joseph Menn dig through hacker history was an absolute high point of Vegas. They imparted some serious brainpower and institutional hacker memory in their talk Rebels with a Cause: Hacking for Good during Black Hat.”


Watch Hacking for Good: The Cult of the Dead Cow and the Rise of Hacker Culture on Decipher