The end of July will see thousands of security professionals descend on Las Vegas for another round of instruction, information, networking, sales, parties and FUD. This will be the 13th consecutive year I’ve attended at least one of BlackHat, BSides or Defcon events. It is easy to become overwhelmed with so much going on, so here are a few tips for those attending:
- Talk to people. No matter what you do, you will find people here working on similar things with similar goals. Take advantage of being in a shared space and chat with them. Find them on Twitter, exchange emails, whatever.
- Take notes. Years ago I would go to as many talks as possible, only to return home with no recollection of what I saw. Notes don’t need to be comprehensive, just project names or ideas that you want to research on your time.
- Assume everyone is at least as smart as you. They are there for a reason, find out what interests them.
- Don’t monologue if you ask questions during a session. There are lots of cool things going on, and I’m sure you have some interesting ideas or experiences, but talking about them under the guise of ‘asking a question’ isn’t cool.
- Just because a talk has the most headlines doesn’t mean it is the best use of your time. We all love some grandstanding, but sometimes the YouTube version is just as good.
- Make the vendors earn your time. I’m all for networking with vendors, just make sure they are answering your questions and beware of things “coming in the next release.” Did I mention you should grab one of our awesome t-shirts at BSides?
- Noodle Asia at the Venetian is the best food you will find at 4am.
Finally, a number of Risk I/O folks will be in town, and we love to talk security. Ed Bellis and Michael Roytman will be talking at BSides on Wednesday, and we’ll be building up some KegBots for Defcon Kids (root beer) and the press area at Defcon (beer, beer). Hope to see you there!