What do a hacker expo and cutting-edge research have in common? Amsterdam!

Dhillon Andrew Kannabhiran is the Founder and CEO of Hack in The Box, and in this interview he introduces HITBSecConf Amsterdam and offers insight on what attendees can expect to see at the event this May.

How would you introduce HITBSecConf Amsterdam to someone who hasn’t attended yet?
HITBSecConf Amsterdam is a gathering of network security professionals and enthusiasts who come from all corners of the globe to discuss the next generation of attacks and defense techniques. This is not an event you come to for ‘security 101’ talks or marketing hype. We cover stuff that hasn’t made it into the news – yet. Potential security issues coming our way in the next 12 months.

Also, unlike other perhaps more ‘commercial’ events, HITB takes pride in the fact that our events have always focused on the community aspect of security – the hacker spirit if you will. In fact all our events are organized by a group of dedicated volunteers (aka the HITB Crew) who take personal time off work and dedicate their energy to make the event what it is.

We also strive to keep our prices affordable with tickets set aside for .edu participants and hackerspaces and other open source groups like OWASP and TOOOL for example. Also, we don’t only select ‘big name’ speakers to present but also remain dedicated to giving the next generation of researchers a platform to shine.

What conceptual changes have you made for this year’s edition of the conference?
As we’re celebrating our 5th year anniversary in The Netherlands, we figured it was time for not only a celebration but to add something new to the line up. As such, in addition to our all-women keynote line up (something we feel has been sorely lacking from the industry in general) will be supplemented by our first ever HITB ‘hacker expo’ or what we’re calling the HITB Haxpo.

Imagine an exhibition area with our usual Capture the Flag live hacking competition, Lock Picking Village merged with space dedicated to hackers and makers – people passionate about security, technology, 3D printing and embedded tech, builders aka code junkies and software developers coupled with a technology showcase area featuring the likes of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Adobe and DELL to name a few.

The best part? We’re not charging attendees a cent – access to all areas of the Haxpo including the talks being held at the same time, plus hands-on classes are 100% F-R-E-E! The HITB Haxpo is not a ‘one-off’ event for us either and we plan to make it a core feature for our European conference leg.

What speakers and sessions would you like to highlight?
As usual we like to think we’ve got a little ‘something for everyone’ and there are always some ‘must not miss’ gems that the HITB Crew themselves are excited about – Exploiting Passbook to Fly for Free by Anthony Hariton and Alice’s Adventures in Smart Building Land by Steffen Wendzel are two that come to mind, though there are simply too many talks to choose from – a good problem to have no doubt.

Of course we also have a separate Call for Papers for talks taking place at HITB Haxpo and details of those selected presentations will be out in the first week of April. If you’re going to be in Amsterdam at the end of May, don’t just be yet another attendee at HITBSecConf – submit a talk and grab your 15 minutes of fame!

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