Short Takeaways from BSides Scotland 2018

Even though this post is long overdue due to exam season, I decided to attend my first security conference on the 27th of April, at BSides Scotland, in Glasgow Royal Concert hall. Unfortunately, due to having a machine learning exam in the morning, I missed some of the talks, but managed to make it to the afternoon sessions, which were fantastic!

There will be information on the majority of the talks available online and there is a BSides Scotland website found here that will give you some more in-depth takeaways from the event.

Although there were some more humorous talks throughout the day such as hacking dildos i.e. “Dildos and Dildon’ts”, security is one of the most important aspects of any tech in this day and age. People have jobs to try and hack into things and exploit the software of things even such as fridges! Almost everything will be exploitable if you try hard enough, which leads to one of the key principles of penetration testing, that security is only as strong as the weakest link.

Furthermore, there are lots of great sponsors and companies present at these conferences that would be more than willing to explain something to you as a student, or inform you about their recruitment process, which is particularly handy if you’re a student like myself, who will be more than likely graduating this year or next.

The talks were informative and fantastic, but I think that a talk that really stood out to me was the closing keynote from Dr Jessica Barker, about the importance of staying ernest and optimistic. Even though the majority of the time, working in security can seem like you’re trying to save the world with no tools to do so, we should still be optimistic about the things that we’re doing and the patches that we’re adding. While nothing can almost never be deemed as 100% secure, every patch or update that is performed, if done correctly, will be another step closer to making a product closer to that title.

The main takeaway that I think that I could have from an event such as BSides was that although there is still a relatively small community that is interested in security in Scotland, it is great to see so many young people like myself turning up and making up quite a chunk of the attendees. This looks like it’s leading to a larger focus on security in the years to come, when many more graduates are out in the industry, looking for security orientated employment.

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