Introduction & My Thoughts on BSides London 2014
While having just landed from the BSides London conference, I had the good occasion presented by Emil Tan to contribute guest articles. Thank you for the opportunity and please comment and feedback on any writing I produce. I'll try to write about subjects of your interest and in connection to the contemporary world of cybersecurity policies. My core argument in this domain is that the cybersecurity should be analysed in the light of the changing global governance models, being an integral part of the process and in some times having been exploited by legacy institutions which were trying to remain on their fixed static positions in resistance to the flexible modernity (a term borrowed from Ulrich Beck).
My professional history is based on software development back from the times before the popular networking revolution, with modems and various custom networking solutions. Later on, I concluded my Bachelor in Business Administration and I'm currently preparing for my Masters in Cybersecurity and Political Science, hence the interest in cyberpolitics. I consider myself as a globalist and I am interested in postmodernism in its various forms and settings, including the formation of the global governance structures, institutions and humanity at large.
BSides conferences represent an interesting model of conferencing, while providing inclusive and permissive admissions policy, they have managed to attract good sponsoring bodies and therefore were able to deliver as any commercial conference would but at the same time keep up the quality, professionalism and creativity. This is crucial in the cyber domain, since, networking potential employees and businesses is booming buzzword of these days, and many recruitment businesses and enterprises themselves do have valid and major barriers in setting up their successful cyber-related businesses and organisations (which they might not publicly admit, of course). Therefore BSides could be seen as having earned its role in the mind of the sponsors as an institution providing and supporting them in this process.
Somewhat in the connection to the above, BSides needs to be mentioned because of its good contribution to the low-barrier talk acceptance policies — a tradition that many other conferences could learn a lot of! To be successful in this, one needs to employ a highly skilled and professional jury who will supervise organising the tracks for the benefit of the audience, but also for the benefit of the speakers. This process, which they seemingly have realised well and are able to produce again and again, could produce a wide-track conference where attendants are able to attend themselves before the zero-day and be present at the sessions they benefit most.
Having given my first public conference talk on the issues I find relevant and which are to be my future research topics, led me to be more confident about the subject and also pointed out its flaws and weaknesses. The response, even a silent one, from a honest and eager audience like this, is most valuable for anyone who is planning to present something of interest which is rather more than just having its part of the scientific, commercial or social processes.
After visiting ten or some security-related conference in the past years, I slowly start to realise how the various events do have deep connections between themselves and to the other institutions in the society. It has been very interesting to get to know this and I am decided to move along, having set my next conference pin mark booked on to Zürich in June!
Kristo Helasvuo, Guest Author.