Q&A: BruCON security conference

Sebastien Deleersnyder is an OWASP Foundation board member and one of the organizers of the BruCON security conference in Belgium. In this interview, he discusses this year’s conference and gives you reasons to attend.

Help Net Security visited the first edition of BruCON last year and we were quite impressed with what we saw. This year promises to deliver even more interesting talks and we’ll definitely be there.

How many presenters will be taking stage at BruCON this year? What are the hot topics?
The next edition of BruCON will provide some 20 presentations and about 8 workshops on various topics. In addition to that, there is an open hardware hacking area. Managed by the crew of hardhack.org and Mitch Altman, there will be additional workshops given here by whoever has an interesting topic. These will be hands-on workshops where you can learn some first-hand experience. Participants are encouraged to actively participate in the conference and contribute their knowledge to others.

I think the trend in most presentations is that the industry has still much margin to improve. Companies are still shipping vulnerable software and devices but they are more and more present in our daily lives. So it is important that we keep reminding people what the common mistakes are and how to fix them. Not as an add-on but by design.

Especially SOHO devices are often not designed with security in mind and this might cause problems in the near future. This topic will be covered by Paul Asadoorian, also known from the @Pauldotcom security podcast.

Another topic is one that will be BruCON exclusive. Craig Balding, known from the cloudsecurity.org blog, will be demonstrating how to build a pentesting lab based on cloud computing. I’m definitely looking forward to that presentation.

Introduce the concept of lightning talks. How many are scheduled?
Lightening talks are 5-minute talks packed into one hour. There will be about 20 in total divided over 2 days. The 5-minute limit keeps the presentation limited to the very core of its message and gives the opportunity to cover several topics in a short amount of time. What’s
also different is that anyone can subscribe to give one of these talks on our website. As long as there are slots free of course. The whole idea is to give the community around BruCON the opportunity to introduce their own new topics. Some presentations might even come back next year as a full presentation or workshop. The topics are quite diverse and might still be subject to change. At this moment, there are still a few slots free so be fast to register one!

What makes BruCON different from other security events in Europe?
There are a lot of different conferences in Europe, starting with the big commercial vendor conferences to the small community-driven conferences. BruCON is somewhere in between, in the sense that we try to give a quality-driven conference but built around a community.

BruCON aims to be casual, fun and informative. It was always the purpose to support and present security research and to increase security awareness in Belgium. We wanted to fill that void in Belgium since most other West European countries had a conference in one form or another.

BruCON today has both the support from commercial companies and a group of enthusiastic volunteers to keep the conference as accessible as possible and non-profit driven. So we have to thank both groups for a great conference. We only hope that this community will grow and people will join us to descend each year to Brussels for a great experience.

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