Some ten-plus years ago, our then still quite small company decided to push the boundaries – literally: we went transnational. Before long we found we had expert-analyst KLers working in all corners of the globe, all of them communicating with one another by email, messengers, telephone and other indirect means. Nothing wrong with that really, but still, it’ll never beat face-to-face interaction. So we decided to have a yearly jamboree where we’d all get together and top up on the much needed proper face time. That was when our annual conference for IT security experts was born: the Security Analyst Summit (SAS).
Never thought that one day I’d be in the Maldives.
Why? Well, my travels normally take me to places where I really need to get to for business. The Maldives? No meetings, speeches or conferences, and no business tends to be transacted there…
Of course there are times when I go to this or that exotic country as a tourist, but my preferred tourism tends to feature rucksacks, tents and volcanoes – not sun, sand, and surf. So, again… the Maldives? Eh?
But when it was suggested that ‘we have this year’s management board jolly in the Maldives’, well, I didn’t need much convincing as to the wholesomeness of the idea. Everyone surely knows the Maldives is a sun drenched set of paradisiacal islands, so why would I object? So off we headed in the direction of the Indian Ocean…
On the Swiss-French border, near Geneva, there’s a place called CERN. Within its various buildings, modern-day alchemistsscientists conCERN themselves with the fundamental structure of the universe. They disperse protons and other particles at near light speed and have them smash against one another, which creates various kinds of quark-gluon plasma and other mysterious physical phenomena. Then they apply titanic brainpower (math, physics, nuclear physics, quantum mechanics… all that), engineering capacity, and computing power to track the results of collisions of these fundamental particles.
We were there the other week and given a good long guided tour. Took lots of pics too…
The first accelerator we saw is called LEIR (the Low Energy Ion Ring). In it, lead ions are pooled. First the ions come from the LINAC-3 linear accelerator to LEIR, then they pass through to a PS ring, and then into a complex of big hoops, including the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
Some of you – especially those who follow our blogs – will know how we’re fairly well into the sponsorship thing: supporting sporting teams (and individuals – see later) around the globe, sometimes in the most unlikely of places. Here’s a quick overview for those who’ve not been watching carefully…
Down under, our logo has been worn on the fetching kits of a Sydney rugby club for some years now, while down the coast in Melbourne it adorns the shirts of a team of Australian rules football.
All righty. You’ve had the soup for starters; now let’s move on to the main course…, rather, into the main course – i.e., inside the proverbial pie served up as main course, and check out the filling – the proverbial steak and kidney, as it were… (but I digest).
Put simpler – let’s find out what goes on within the walls of these plain buildings on the Swiss-French border where nuclear-physicists study the very nature of… nature – at it’s very deepest level.
It’s not just the biggest, it’s also the most expensive, most innovative device in the world. Naturally, that means it’s highly computerized. I wonder what AV it’s got :).
What we’ve got here is a modern-day wonder. Research at the cutting edge of both theoretical and practical knowledge into particle physics – the study of what makes up matter. Other groundbreaking stuff has been going on here since the 1950s too, including the small matter of, in 1989, the invention of… the World Wide Web!
Yes folks, this is CERN. An international team that prods the microcosmic world with various kinds of prodders to try and learn what’s going on down there. Here they make particles ‘collide’ at the speed of light to find out how they interact and to get clues to the fundamental laws of nature. Pretty cool, no?
Over those four days we’ll be having our annual (seventh) conference on information security, whose main topic will be modern-day cyberattacks and protecting against them besides a whole load of other assorted cyberthreat themes. The winter summit in warmer climes, this year in Cancun, Mexico: the Security Analyst Summit 2015 (SAS).
So, just remember, the main security industry hashtag of mid-Feb this year is this one: #TheSAS2015
(No security experts were harmed during the shooting of this video)
SAS is an exclusive, invite-only gig, with only the cream of the world’s crop of top IT security movers and shakers taking part. It’s not massive – it’s more intimate, which means it’s more meaningful and more gets done – and twice as engaging and interesting for all participants. But don’t feel left-out by this guest-list-only cliquishness. Opaque – us? :). Just about all what’s discussed we’ll be swiftly publishing as tweets and blogposts (see the hashtag above and the blog links below).
Meantime, if you want more detail about what goes on at SAS and some SAS history, have a read of this.
This year’s bash promises lots of very interesting content, including a world premiere or two plus other important announcements, as per tradition. The main themes are targeted attacks and cyber-militarization, and how to combat both. Also on the agenda are: mobile malware, vulnerabilities management, cyberattack analysis methods, intra-security-expert-industry cooperation, and more besides.
There’ll be both presentations of the ‘for all’ format, and also highly specific, specialized ones for the pros (like for example reverse engineers). And there’ll be a special bit this year on protecting critical infrastructure – which promises to be very useful due to both the timeliness and the number of top-notch experts who are going to be taking part.
Have a look for yourself: the program’s ready and online already.
Another of my long-held dreams has finally come true – to check out Cologne Cathedral in the flesh. Crikey. It’s just monumental. Eerie. A huge stalagmite stabbing the low cloud up above. More gothic than the Sisters of Mercy ever were.
For me, there’s nothing better to invigorate the soul and get the spirits up on a winter’s morning than a brisk stroll in the icy air to the accompaniment of the cheerful, optimistic sounds of… bagpipes!
Actually, there is one thing that invigorates the soul better, and that’s an earthquake. I was woken up by one once in Japan. Invigorated? Yes. But getting the spirits up?…
No earthquakes here fortunately, in the small town of Davos in the Swiss Alps. But lots of icy air and, bizarrely, some bagpipes emitting their dulcet tones. Not that I was able to appreciate them for long, for I had to be off to my next meeting…
Things seem a little overly workaholic-like in Davos this year. Some events start at 7.30 in the morning! WHAT? Jeez, what a nightmare (for an evening person like myself). Oh well, if that’s when they start, that’s when they start. Will just have to comply humbly, and grumbly. But – organizers – please, kindly, get a grip and not repeat this madness next year, eh?
Curiously, Davos, for WEF week, turns itself into the weirdest skiing resort in the world.
To start off with, the environs around Davos have never been a super-mega for skiing and snowboarding. There aren’t that many routes, and they’re somewhat straight and boring, in fact hardly much fun at all – especially if you compare them with the likes of Zermatt, Sölden, Lech, the Dolomites and so on…
Last week’s busy overseas business itinerary, this time in London, ended with the usual installment of micro-tourism.
We rented a car and drove down to the White Cliffs of Dover, the sheer façade that drops into the English Channel. I’d long dreamed of getting down to the southern coast of England, the place where d’Artagnan came ashore (seeking out the queen’s diamonds wasn’t it? Will have to re-read the book), as did William the Conqueror, and I’m sure a whole hoard of other invaders and the like did…