Thoughts from the Nordic Security Conference

Yabbadabba doo!!

The Nordic Security Conference on Iceland is now over, and i must say that it was an amazing conference with several top notch presentations from both local and international researchers. The line up for a conference that was running for the first time was very impressive, and i am pretty sure that history in the Nordic IT-security industry was written this weekend.

I was asked by the organizers to do the keynote and open the conference with the presentation A Diary From A Security Geek</b< which i felt very honored to do. The presentation was the same which i gave in South Africa at the IDC Security Roadshow just some days ago. What i understood from the conversations during the breaks and also after the conference it seems that the keynote was very well received and the majority of the other speakers also made some nice references to it in their talks.

The Nordic Security Conference was located on Iceland, in Reykjavik. Even that the excursion was cancelled due to the bad weather (storm) i must say that Iceland is a very beautiful country. Even before you land and are sitting in the plane looking over Iceland you can see the amazing nature that country have. You can see everything from glaciers, volcanos, hot geysers.


The conference was quite small; it had about 200 participants which also made it quite personal. It was a very good place to go in depth in technical subjects with both researchers and participants. I was personally able to meet some really interesting people who i just communicated over the Internet with before.

I hope that next year the organizers will not have two tracks, but instead extend it to several days because its always difficult when you need to choose between two good presentations who are running at the same time. Even with two tracks i was able to see quite a few presentations including:

  • Shyama Rose - Successful Application Security Programs in an Uncertain Landscape
  • Marcus J. Ranum - Cyberwar: a matter of logistics and privilege
  • Raffael Marty - Visual Analytics and Security Intelligence Big Data in Action
  • Rich Smith - Post-Exploitation Strategies using commonly available intepreted languages
  • Travis Goodspeed - FaceDancer USB exploitation framework/board
  • David Litchfield - Find Me in Your Database: An Examination of Index Security
  • Mike Arpaia - The Mobile Exploit Intelligence Project
  • Georgia Weidman - Introduction to Smartphone Penetration Testing Framework
  • Zane Lackey - Effective Approaches to Web Application Security
  • Charlie Eriksen - Lessons learnt in the security ghetto
  • Roelof Temmingh - Unleashing Radium the rise of the machines automating data collection and visualization in the next generation of Maltego

One of my personal favorite presentations was the last one i saw from Roelof Temmingh where he talked about Maltego and how to automate and visualize data. This seems to be an extremely powerful tool not just to capture data, but also create logical connections and visualize it for the users. One example was a social media plugin that could find people on various social media networks, and extract relationships with different people. I can see a extreme value when doing intelligence research.

I was also extremely impressed by the presentation from Rich Smith and his Post-exploitation strategy. He had developed a tool for penetration testers that helped the auditor to maintain access to compromised machines. The magic trick was that his tool was OS independent which meant that it did not matter which OS the compromised machine had, he could still control it. This has been done before by other researchers but Rich tool was for example running only in memory and not touching the file systems and had tons of other trick. I was really impressive with this talk is that you could see that Rich really knew what he was talking about and had done ALOT of research in this topic.

To my surprise there was also a CTF (Capture The Flag) competition going on simultaneously as the conference, some of the challenges were to download a binary then find as many vulnerabilities in it. Some of the vulnerabilities were for example buffer overflows, encryption issues, data leakage etc. The winner of this conference was the one and only Theodor Gislason who is an excellent researcher.

Since this was such success i really hope that the organizers take the initiative to do this again and that we all can meet up at the Nordic Security Conference next year! Who knows, maybe it will be in some other Nordic country?!

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