Friday, October 21, 2016

highlights from #sector2016

i haven't posted about the sector conference in a number of years, in spite of attending. let's break that trend. here's some highlights from this year's conference.

  • edward snowden - he was surprisingly well prepared to talk about canadian policy and events
  • marketing gimmicks - hockey pucks are one thing, but give me a key and tell me that there's a lock that it might fit and you're darn right i'm going to go find out if it fits. i gather there was a prize i could have won if it did fit but i didn't pay much attention to that. a friend at work said he'd have bought their product on the strength of that gag alone.
  • ransomware - ransomware seemed to be the theme this year. i lost track of how many talks were about or mentioned ransomware. 2016 really does seem like the year of ransomware. i caught the tail end of talk from someone at sophos where they described a feature for rolling back encrypted files using a proprietary backup mechanism. if other vendors aren't doing something like this you're leaving money on the table. (that's right, i know how you vendors think)
  • mikko hypponen - great perspective on what protecting computers has evolved into: protecting society because it now runs on computers
  • the security problems of an 11 year old and how to solve them - this talk was given by an actual 11 year old who could probably put some professionals to shame. this is the talk i most look forward to sharing with people at work when the videos become available.
  • mikko's "virus" floppy disk that he left behind - this isn't a highlight because someone from the AV industry was careless with infectious materials but rather because when it was found people wanted to find a computer they could stick it into and see what was there. you'd think the difficulty in finding the hardware necessary to read a 5 1/4" floppy would make such a disk a relatively safe prop to use, even if there was a virus on it. leave it to infosec pros to try and find ways around such barriers. now you know where shadow IT comes from, folks. by the way, don't tell mikko.
there were other good talks and keynotes, of course, but i'm not going to detail every talk i attended and every person i met. these are the things that really stood out to me and if you want to know more you should have gone yourself.