With B-Sides Canberra 2019 tickets going on sale earlier this week, we thought it would be a good time to share our B-Sides 2018 experience!
Hi, my name is Vivian, and I am the current President of UNSW Security Society (SecSoc), I’m a 3rd year Software Engineering student, I enjoy learning about all things security and figuring out how things work 110% of the time.
I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you the experience of attending a security conference from the perspective of a student.
In April 2018, SecSoc, with the support of SECedu, organised a bus from Sydney to B-Sides Canberra. Students from UNSW, UTS, MacU, QUT and USyd were invited; and for most it was their first security conference.
The whole experience was exciting for me, not only were the talks and workshops super interesting, but being able to meet security enthusiasts at social events and the after-party were like the icing on the cake.
Some of my favourite talks were:
- Spectre and Meltdown: Speculative Execution Considered Harmful - one of the best explanations about Spectre and Meltdown that I’ve seen, it was technical enough to be interesting but not so much that you get lost in a sea of jargon
- Freedom of Information: Hacking the Human Black Box - A very funny talk from Elliot Brink (@ebrinkster)where he socially engineered some malicious requests by making FOI requests to Australian and US-based government institutions. (Unfortunately I can’t share a link to this because of the sensitive nature of the content content)
- Contactless Access Control 2: Life, uh, finds a way- Two talented hardware enthusiasts showcase their overcomplicated electromagnetic interference guns to solve the problem of getting through doors
In addition to talks, the conference had a number of villages, there was the Locksport Village, Hardware hacking Village and CTF Village where enthusiasts gather together to practice and learn about the more hands on side of security.
I attended an evidence tampering workshop where I was shown how to open all types of seals and stickers and place them back on as if they were never touched, it made me to realise that envelopes or any types of seals can look completely untouched even after being tampered with.
Here’s what some of my fellow students thought of B-Sides Canberra 2018:
I participated in a pentesting contest run by Context to hack a corporate network and gain control of a drone. It was valuable experience and different to a CTF because I never knew whether I was digging at the right machine, or wasting my time on a useless machine. It also taught me how valuable Windows pentesting experience can be.
This conference is definitely an experience I would recommend to other students!
All in all, I was impressed by the great sense of community at B-Sides Canberra. If there are any students out there who are scared they might not fit in because don’t have the knowledge or experience, don’t be! I found it to be very welcoming. Thank you to Kylie and Silvio for putting on a great conference, hopefully we will see even more students attending in 2019.
We will be arranging a bus down again in 2019 so if you are a student in Sydney who would like to travel down with us or have some friends to attend with, please let us know!