Black Hat, Defcon, and BSides
Keynotes at BSides yesterday highlighted calls for true multidisciplinary cooperation on the very large-scale problems we face in cybersecurity. The disciplines that could make a major difference would prominently include economics, behavioral science, and machine learning.
Endgame gave an interesting talk: "Destructive Malware and Interstate Rivalries: The Evolution of Digital Weapons and Geopolitical Conflict." Andrea Little Limbago and Mark Dufresne gave attack timelines and details of destructive attacks (with an emphasis on the destructive as opposed to the merely intrusive). They covered Stuxnet to recent attacks centered on, but extending beyond, Ukraine. Limbago put the incidents into geopolitical context by describing the various rivalries that created the conditions for the attacks: a smart pairing of the political and the technical.
In general the atmosphere at BSides has been easy-going. It's free, the teachers are volunteers, and the attendees struck our stringer as passionate people who care about security and at the same time liked to have fun. Therefore we had a chat with the BSides bartender. She told our stringer that the most commonly chosen morning beverage so far has been beer, followed by Jägermeister. (Our sociological desk suggests this means one thing: young crowd, college-girl/boy drinking habits.) Around 10:30 local time the first Jack and Coke was ordered up.