Maria Varmazis

BSides Austin & #SXSW2015: The Internet of Things, Privacy & What's Next in InfoSec

Blog Post created by Maria Varmazis Employee on Mar 5, 2015

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Rapid7 will be at Bsides Austin this year on March 12 & 13. We'll be doing demos, showing off some Metasploit goodness, and talking to cool people like yourselves! If you're looking for more info about what we do -- and yes, if you're interested in working at Rapid7 -- please do stop by our table and say hello. (I may even have a Metasploit tshirt for you.)


And if you're heading to South by South West Interactive (SXSWi) this year, or are in the Austin area during mid-March and don't mind braving the crowds and ridiculous traffic, there are a number of cybersecurity-related panels and events happening that you might want to check out. Mercifully for our aching feet, many of these sessions will be at the JW Marriott. I'm glad I get to escape this seemingly unending Winter from Hell up here in Boston to hear some of the brightest minds in tech right now, but even if you can't make it, I'll be blogging a few key takeaways from some of the sessions below. (No need for FOMO!)


Below are a few of my session picks, but you can check out all the cybersecurity-related talks at #SXSW2015 right here:


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Security of Things: Who will save us? - Nick Percoco, VP Strategic Services @ Rapid7

3:30-4:30pm, JW Marriott Salon 4 (110 E 2nd St)


I know I go to SXSW partly to geek out at the amazing new tech and apps showcased, but by no means is Nick's Internet of Things talk going to be a splash of cold water on that excitement. IoT is a hot topic at SXSW this year, and in line with that, Nick's talk will be about how we make these connected devices safer. There's a lot at stake with IoT, but it's not doom and gloom. Nick's talk will leave attendees with a much better understanding of the future of the ever-growing Internet of Things, armed with knowledge to better protect themselves and their data.


SATURDAY March 14 (Pi day!)

World War Cyber: Global Conflict Beyond SonyHack - James Stavridis, Fletcher School at Tufts University, Kate Edwards, International Game Developers Association, Peter Singer, New America Foundation

9:30-10:30AM, Zilker Ballroom 4


Free & open to the public (no SXSW badge required)

Beyond imagining some future!wargames, this sounds like an interesting thought experiment on what the next big cybercrimes could be, the rules of engagement, and how nation-states might respond. (This could also be the best game of Civilization ever.)


Data Discrimination: Exploring Big Data and Bias - Michael Farrell, Passcode/Christian Science Monitor, Nicole Wong, Former US Deputy CTO, Sascha Meinrath, X-Lab

11am-12pm, JW Marriott Salon 7 (110 E 2nd St)


A fascinating question for discussing in this session -- as Big Data gets even bigger, won't the increased accessibility to information invite people to manipulate it for their own gains, or to exclude or even harm others? The panelists are going to dive into what we can do to "avoid an age of digital inequality."


Why HIPAA Won't Save You: Protecting Data Privacy - Amanda Sheldon, Medtronic Diabetes; Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, THINK-Health and Health Populi blog, Manny Hernandes, Diabetes Hands Foundation, Marc Monseau, Mint Collective

5-6pm, JW Marriott Room 203-4 (110 E 2nd St)


This should be an interesting conversation about the desire for manufacturers and businesses to enable better health outcomes through data sharing, and how that needs to be weighed carefully with the need of patients to keep our sensitive health information private and out of the wrong hands. So often these conversations tend to be just one side of the other, so I'm looking forward to hearing the various viewpoints in the room on this one.


SUNDAY March 15

Passcode Conversation on Cybersecurity & Privacy's Next Frontiers - The Christian Science Monitor's Passcode, The Center for Identity at the University of Texas, Rapid7


6-7:30pm - Uncle Julio's Restaurant, 301 Brazos St

Free & open to the public (no SXSW badge required)

RSVP: Passcode Conversation on Cybersecurity and Privacy’s Next Frontiers- Eventbrite

It's dinner and a conversation with Dan Kaufman of DARPA (@DARPAdan) and Nuala O'Connor (@privacymama), who will discuss the major security and privacy issues of the day, and our own Nick Percoco (@c7five) will speak about how hackers play an important role in keeping us all safe.  There will be plenty of audience Q&A so come and bring your questions and opinions, it should be a great time (with great food, from what I hear). And yes, we are sponsoring this event — so I'm not exactly unbiased — but I am legitimately quite excited for this and hope to see lots of people there, asking lots of tough questions.


MONDAY March 16

Hypo or Hacked? - Jay Radcliffe, Healthcare Security Researcher @ Rapid7

1-1:15pm, Austin Convention Center Ballroom C (Future15)


If you've never heard Jay's story , you really should make sure you come to this one. Jay is a well-known security researcher who focuses on medical device security, and his cause is personal -- he hacked his own insulin pump and weighed the benefits of this technology with the possible risks. As a result, Jay decided to forego the conveniences of a wireless-enabled insulin pump and went back to self-injecting insulin over concerns of the devices' safety. His experience is a great example of what medical device researchers and patients struggle with every day. If a better life through data appeals to you, you'll want to hear about the possible downsides from someone who's experienced them first-hand.


TUESDAY March 17

What the IoT Means For Public Safety - Claire Niech, Deloitte Consulting, Jeffrey Carr, Taia Global, Max Meyers, Deloitte Consulting

9:30-10:30am, JW Marriott Salon 8 (110 E 2nd St)


I'm really not surprised to see so many panels at SXSW focusing on IoT, but it's refreshing to see a number of them discussing their security implications. This panel dives into the broader, overall public safety aspects of potentially vulnerable IoT devices, for example when discussing the infrastructure that mobilize emergency services or key utilities. This talk takes the conversation a bit beyond the usual (and very valid) individual consumer-level privacy concern.



Is there an event I missed that you're looking forward to?  I definitely want to hear about it -- leave a comment or Tweet me at @mvarmazis.  Thanks!