ZeroNights: A Technical Security Conference in Russia

The third security conference called ZeroNights conference has quickly grown into the largest security events in Russia. The conference first started in St Petersburg in 2011 with presentations from respectable speakers that included Dave Aitel and The Grugq. This year, ZeroNights had 800+ visitors, including quite a few English speakers and not surprisingly the presentations of Russian speakers were simultaneously translated in English for all.

It has become quite common to associate hackers with cyber-criminals but this association is terribly wrong. There are white hats, the type of hackers that use their knowledge for good; and black hats who launch malicious attacks for illegal profit. Although, it’s hard to recognize the color of someone’s hat, people attending the conference had a chance to learn using their powers responsibly. Here is a conference “chill-out” corner where attendees heard words of wisdom from master Yoda about good and evil.


What I liked best about this conference was the restriction of marketing and business oriented presentations. There were jokes that one guy tried to break the rule and got into serious trouble. Human body-shaped lines painted in white on the stage floor silently reminded the speakers to not repeat his mistake.

This helped to increase the value of technical content for all attendees. I presented our research into theIcefog cyber-espionage campaign. The presentation was pretty flexible and I asked whether people wanted to relax and have less technical content or take another dive into technical details. And guess what? I was surprised and pleased to see 80-90% of the audience raising their hands to get some more technical stuff at the end of the day.

I would like to thank the organizers (Digital Security and Software People) for the opportunity to speak at the ZeroNights conference and I am looking forward to the next year event.

While on business trips to other countries I often hear a question: “Is there any good international security conference in Russia?”. Now, I have a good option to recommend one.

ZeroNights: A Technical Security Conference in Russia

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