CanSecWest, a decade later and still growing

I just realized that my first time going to CanSecWest was while working as a security expert at Nortel, by far the largest company in the country at the time. I was living over 5,000km away, and it was quite the experience meeting the technical security industry’s elite. I remember being the only person representing Nortel, and yet I happened to sit by accident right in the middle of the entire technical security team of Nortel’s largest competitor. I remember sitting beside a young K2 who was coding a polymorphic shellcode engine in assembly, meeting the infamous Theo de Raddt of OpenBSD fame, and meeting Mixter, author of the Tribal Flood Network (TFN) which was big news at the time.

This week several hundred of the top information security professionals from around the world will descend on Vancouver, Canada, yet again, and I can’t wait to be a part of it.

If you’re even remotely interested in technical security, you need to be there. It’s by far the largest applied security conference in Canada, and I believe in the top 2 globally. A couple events you don’t want to miss this year: #pwn2own where hackers compete to legally and ethically compromise internet browsers, operating systems and smart phones for their share in $125,000 in prizes. Perhaps the most anticipated event this year is seeing if Charlie Miller will exploit safari for the 4th year in a row, or if someone will make it past both required steps to take down Google Chrome.
As an aside, I volunteered to install Ubuntu the first year of pwn2own, and coincidentally it was the only operating system not pwned at the event.

Every year CanSecWest hosts an epic party; be it partying at the top of Grouse mountain, or the Vancouver aquarium and loading it with bars and DJs, to this year; the Tronapalooza party which will feature 100s of arcades being brought into the nightclub just for the event, as well as a quadcopter combat pit, kinect lounges, 5 bars, 7-10 networked GT5 stations combined with the 4wd rc car cage match finale and retrovideo goodness all over should make for a fun old school videogame social.

10 years later, and I’ve become personal friends with some of the top hackers in the world. I’ve also been lucky enough to travel with them to BA-Con in Buenos Aires a couple years ago, and PacSec in Tokyo last fall. I just wanted to say thanks to Dragos, Will and all of the other organizers, volunteers and peers I’ve met over the years, I’m lucky to have met you all and look forward to seeing you again in a few days!