Top Information Security Conferences in 2013

Information Security (infosec) is an exciting field dedicated to protecting all privileged data in a system. It works to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information. Whether it is customer data, trade secrets, or other privileged information, information security is the effort to keep it accurate and available to the people who need it, while keeping it away from those who do not. There is no shortage of infosec conferences to attend in the USA. Here are some of the best:

Top 5 Information Security Conferences in 2013

Black Hat– July 27 – August 1, 2013, Las Vegas, NV. Founded in 1997, Blackhat has events worldwide, but its roots are in Las Vegas, NV. Attendees include representatives from government agencies (including law enforcement) to ‘Blackhat’ hackers. The “Black Hat Briefings” provide technical briefings on topical subjects and training sessions taught by respected experts provide practical education and in many cases certifications.

Black Hat is a conference often used to reveal vulnerability information. That has caused problems in the past, but recently researchers and vendors have worked to fix, or at least work around, issues before revealing them at the conference.

RSA – February 25 – March 1, 2013, San Francisco, CA. The RSA Conference is among the oldest security conferences. It started as a cryptography conference in 1991 and naturally grew to include a wide array of security fields, including infosec. It includes a security conference and a vendor expo. The conference includes talks by industry experts and Peer2Peer sessions that are small group discussions of topics especially relevant to security professionals. Peer2Peer sessions are not presentations. There is no presenter, only a facilitator to help keep discussion going.

DefCon – August 1-4, 2013, Las Vegas, NV. DefCon began in 1993. Its first meeting was intended as a farewell party for “Platinum Net” but when “Platinum Net” shut down unexpectedly, it morphed into a general hacker party. It is still a general hacker party, though law enforcement and federal agents do attend.

DefCon is strong on cracking security and exploiting vulnerabilities. It is also a little more on the “Wild West” end of the spectrum. So, if you are looking for hardcore information on hacking with a bit of life on the wild side, DefCon may be just what you are looking for.

ShmooCon – February 15-17, Washington, D.C. ShmooCon is aimed at new and interesting developments in technology – primarily, security technology. ShmooCon has traditionally had three tracks, “BUILD IT, BREAK IT, and BRING IT ON.” In 2013 they are shifting a focus. In response to the closing panel discussion last year, “BREAK IT” is becoming, “BELAY IT.” The idea is that the focus on attacks so prevalent at conferences needs to be redirected, with more attention given to defense. “BELAY IT” focuses on defense, whether it is talks on defense concepts, broken protocols, or promising research.

Security BSides – Security BSides is an arguable inclusion to this list, but the fact that it is arguable makes it worth mentioning. The BSides concept started as an unofficial addition/alternative to other cons like Blackhat, RSA, and DefCon. BSides conferences originally took place on the same days as established cons, but after hours or in a fashion that did not directly compete. The purpose was to provide additional opportunity for talks, education, and networking. Now they take place when and where someone sees a need and acts to fulfill it. BSides may coincide with a larger conference, providing additional speakers and workshops after the main con, or they may be stand-alone conferences. The rapid growth of BSides from a few U.S. conferences in 2009 to conferences worldwide as quickly as 2010 demonstrates the ability to fill a need for even more information in the infosec community. BSides conferences take place around the US and the world throughout the year.

Wherever you’re geographically located and whatever your 2013 calendar is shaping up to look like, there’s sure to be a conference that fits your needs.  With the ever-changing world of information security, the infosec conference docket is sure to get fuller and fuller every year.

About the Guest Author

Brock Stanley is a information security professional who attends as many infosec conferences as his schedule allows. More of his expert advice can be found at Criminal Justice Major Guide.

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