The Destination for Innovation Finally Comes to NoVa

Rick Gordon, of MACH37

If you’re looking for the cutting edge of information security technology, you need look no further than Security BSides. A self-described “do-ocracy,” the hacker/infosec un-conference was created to provide professionals with more speakers, topics, and events. In a field where threats and defenses evolve constantly, practitioners– and the companies they work for– have come to see BSides as a mission-critical knowledge sharing opportunity. And this year, it has finally come to Northern Virginia.

“In the information security space, this is where the technical innovators are,” said Rick Gordon. He is a managing partner at cyber accelerator MACH37, which hosted the event at the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon, VA. There are lots of people who care about the leading edge of security in general, he said, but the BSides community is the group that is immersed in it and constantly pushing the boundary.

“We always find practitioners that are frustrated with a security-related thing in their jobs,” he said. “At BSides, oftentimes they’ve invented a solution for it.”

“The cybersecurity community in the Northern Virginia area is one the strongest in the nation,” said Commander (USCG) Patrick Thompson who, along with Sophia Fadli, co-founded BSides NoVa. “It’s the right time for us to have a BSides NoVA event to help connect local students, government and industry professionals and enthusiasts.”

The Open Organization of Lockpickers, aka TOOL, always has a spot at BSides to teach the art of lockpicking. Don’t worry, though; it’s safe. Rule #1: only pick your own locks. Rule #2: Don’t pick locks you actually need. Get a practice set, like the ones on the table!

The day-long event included multiple panels and workshops, and individual speaker presentations throughout the day. Talks ranged from “Anti-Virus & Firewall Bypass Techniques” by a certified ethical hacker to “‘Humans, right?’ Soft Skills in Security” by WashingtonExec’s own Ariel Robinson. Videos from presentations and panels, including keynote addresses by Symantec’s Tarah Wheeler and Ron Gula, co-founder of Tenable Network Security, are available on Youtube.

“I could not be more impressed with how the Cyber Security community in Northern Virginia came together for our inaugural event, “said Fadli. “The positive response I have received on our volunteers, speakers, panelists and instructors has been overwhelming; I cannot thank them enough.”

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