INSIGHTS | October 3, 2013

Seeing red – recap of SecurityZone, DerbyCon, and red teaming goodness

I was fortunate enough to have a chance to participate in a couple of conferences that I consider close to my heart in the past couple of weeks. First – SecurityZone in beautiful Cali ,Colombia. This is the third year that SecurityZone has been running, and is slowly making its way into the latin american security scene.

This year I delivered the keynote on the first day, and albeit being a bit harsh on the whole “let’s buy stuff so we can think we are secure” approach, it was very well received. Apparently, stating the “obvious” – which is that a security function in an organization is tasked with risk management of said organization, rather than with dealing purely with the technical IT infrastructure for it.

Next up was DerbyCon. I can’t stress enough how much fun it is to run the Red Team Training class with my best friend Chris, and the kind of feedback (and learning) we have a chance to get. The biggest return for us every time we deliver the training is watching the trainees open up and really “get” what red team testing is all about, and the kind of value it brings to the organization being tested. This moment of enlightenment is sheer joy from me still.

Speaking of DerbyCon – OMG what a conference! It’s just amazing what a small crew of dedicated individuals can come up with in such a short period of time. If you’d ask me for how long this con has been running I’d say at least 8-9 years. And this one was just the third iteration. Everything from the volunteer crew, through the hotel staff (major kudos to the Hyatt for taking DerbyCon on, and “working” with us – going well above just accommodating a conference venue).

My talk at DerbyCon focused on the “receiving end” of a red-team, which articulates what an organization should do in order to thoroughly prepare for such an engagement, and maximize the impact from it and the returns in the form of improving the organizational efficiency and security posture. I had a lot of great feedback on it, and some excellent conversations with people who have been struggling to get to that “buy-in” point in their organizations. Really hoped that I managed to help a bit in figuring out how to more accurately convey the advantages and ROI of such an engagement to the different internal groups.

I’m really looking forward to getting more feedback on it, and more discussions on how to communicate the essence of red teaming to organizations – which is always a challenge in internal organization politics.

Following are the video and slides. Have fun!