BSides Idaho Falls – Day 1

Today, I woke up to ominous clouds and chilling rain. Not what I was hoping for the first day of the conference. In my mind, I could only think this was a sign that I would be an embarrassment to the cyber security community. Not to mention that my frustrations with setting up my AWS machine for the seminar continued after writing the blog post yesterday. That is another story that I plan to write about more since it sparked a new blog idea.

Overall impressions of the conference? Amazing!

I joined the seminar on Cloud Forensics taught by Kerry Hazelton. There were concepts in the seminar that were familiar: The different kinds of cloud. What is cloud computing? Who owns the data you put into the cloud? Then there were things like vendor-locking or the CLOUD Act that I absolutely did not know about! The seminar definitely had me thinking of ways to expand professionally and tinkering with cloud security more.

Another thing the seminar made me ponder about is getting new certifications. He mentioned a few but the CCSK (Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge) seems like a good place to start. And since this was focused on forensics, I wondered about trying my hand at forensics again. It might be easier to practice on instances in the cloud. Not to mention, I can blog about that too!

I also got to meet some really nice people as well. One thing that I found amazing when meeting people was how humble everyone was. There was the sense that everyone felt they did not really know anything and wanted to learn as much as possible. How much of the former is true is legitimately questionable but the latter was definitely true. No matter what the skill levels were, everyone wanted to be better. It was refreshing!

Then came the CTF (Capture The Flag) event for our seminar. We were all split randomly into teams…then I moved to a different team to help even the numbers…then more people came late and just joined our team. In total, we were a massive nine person team compared to the average size of four! And guess who was elected as team leader?

We all did not really know how to go about the CTF but I may have had best idea of what was expected. I did capture the first flag for our team which was pretty cool but I still tip my hat to the team member who got the 1000 point flag! That was amazing and really pumped the team!

Meanwhile, I had to keep track of at least three different challenges the team as a whole was working on. I’ll tell you. Working on an encryption, network and two stenography challenges at the same time is not easy. However, I found that I was a pretty good resource of random information and often could point people in the general direction to solving the challenges. I also taught a few new linux commands to one of my teammates who I am soo happy he had a linux vm on his computer! There were a couple challenges that were easier to do thanks to him!

In the end, our team came in 2nd place! My imposter syndrome kicked in and told me that we didn’t deserve it because there were nine of us. A few seconds later, I disregarded that thought and replaced it with a new one. Our team consisted of people who mostly have never done any kind of CTF challenge and were new to cyber security. And we came in 2nd! We congratulated each other and the team member who solved that 1000 point challenge got a custom challenge coin! We did really well!

At the end of the day, many of the conference attendees gathered together to play board games. It was relatively relaxing and we continued to meet more great people. There were a ton of games but I opted to play only one game called “Jamaica”. It was great looting gold from people and attacking ships on a gamble.

Despite the deathly looking clouds and the freezing rain, this was a great start to the conference. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Especially the Tinkerer’s Village. Stay tuned!

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