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Rising Like A Phoenix, ShowMeCon 2024 Resurrects A Security Community In The Midwest


St. Charles, MO, is called the launching level for a well-known exploratory mission from U.S. historical past: the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Explorers set off from the town’s muddy shore to discover a passage to the Pacific Ocean, mapping out what lay west of the Mississippi River. It was with this similar spirit of journey that round 400 safety professionals gathered to swap tales of defending our orgs, increase consciousness of rising threats, and join as human beings at ShowMeCon 2024.  

This version of ShowMeCon marked a triumphant return after a 5-year hiatus. For a lot of attendees, it was a reunion of outdated pals who had not seen each other in years. For a few of us, it was the primary ShowMeCon we may attend. Irrespective of the expertise degree, the occasion’s total welcoming environment and friendliness had been palpable. Listed below are only a few of the highlights from the return of this legendary occasion.



We want extra individuals working securely, no more safety individuals

In his session, “Why You Do not Want a Safety Workforce,” Alex Hamerstone, Advisory Solutions Director at TrustedSec, argued that many conventional safety features may and must be distributed throughout a company reasonably than frequently concentrated into walled-off ‘safety groups.’ Safety groups have grow to be a hyperspecialized division that claims ‘no’ to issues that oftentimes different groups really feel they should work round. We now have developed a tradition of blaming the victims, which has additionally set safety other than the person. Alex challenged us, “If a single person can take down an entire system by clicking one hyperlink, was the system safe to start with?”

Based on Alex, the way forward for scaling safety will deal with integrating safety into varied departments and roles and fostering a tradition the place safety is everybody’s duty. Some people might want to handle governing, compliance, and oversight, and there’ll all the time be a specialization in areas corresponding to incident response. Nonetheless, each crew wants to have the ability to carry out its personal risk assessments and modeling. As he summed it up, “Would you reasonably have a software program safety crew or builders who write safe code?”

Alex additionally talked in regards to the future position of CISOs, predicting that authorized and enterprise experience will grow to be extra vital than technical abilities. Enterprise continuity will grow to be an increasing number of the duty of the CISO, and safety might want to scale higher throughout the group to maintain up with ever-evolving threats. Alex argued it could be a lot simpler in the long term for management to rent security-minded crew members reasonably than safety consultants who know each position within the enterprise.

Why You Do not Want a Safety Workforce by Alex Hamerstone 



Classes from a grocery retailer

In his session “Evolution in Progress: Insights Since Our Final Encounter,” Joey Smith, VP and Chief Information Security Officer at Schnuck Markets shared his “Three E’s framework.” He requested us which of the next we thought we wanted to work on: “Experience,” “Emotional Intelligence,” or “Publicity.” He emphasised the significance of discovering a profession that aligns with one’s ardour and highlighted the worth of steady studying and adaptation.

He stated he realized lots about safety from working to inventory shelved throughout the pandemic. The Schnucks’ mission is to “Nourish individuals,” which suggests extra to him than simply making certain Oreos are on the shelf. As they rolled out stock management automation and robots to help with stocking, they bumped into all types of points. Nonetheless, by making use of some normal, widespread sense guidelines, they’ve been capable of meet every problem efficiently.

His Prime 10 checklist of classes realized:

1. Underneath promise, over-deliver.
2. There are three sides to each story. My aspect, your aspect, and the reality.
3. Do not Carry up an issue with out additionally mentioning an answer.
4. Prioritize and Execute!
5. Take an opportunity. Stroll by profession doorways as they open for you.
6. Make your mattress each morning.
7. Deal with your distributors with respect and professionalism.
8. It is OK to mess up generally.
9. Work to seek out the sure. We won’t simply be the division of “No.”
10. Out of sight, out of thoughts. Preserve your Zoom cameras on and know your teammates. 

Evolution in Progress: Insights Since Our Final Encounter by Joey Smith, CISO of Schnuck Markets



Not each engagement goes flawlessly, and that’s OK

Most pentesting tales you hear have shut calls, however virtually magically, every part works out on the final second in most of those tales. Bobby Kuzma, Director of Offensive Cyber Operations at ProCircular, and Security Researcher Valerie Thomas introduced a decidedly totally different to their session, “When Pen Exams Go Unsuitable.” Collectively, they showcased how unpredictable pentesting will be and the way essential it’s to plan completely and keep adaptable.

Some mishaps are going to be wildly outdoors of your management, like having a contractor add your rigorously written and examined payloads into VirusTotal, which suggests the shopper will now be capable to detect their presence. Some missions will go haywire since you failed to contemplate the climate report, corresponding to Valerie did on one outing, making her all-black ‘ninja’ outfit extremely seen, even at evening. Generally gravity itself can work towards you; as Bobby shared, he as soon as tripped and rolled down a hill and wanted medical consideration whereas making an attempt to realize bodily entry. 

It doesn’t matter what got here their manner, Bobby and Valerie pressured the significance of being adaptable. Whereas there isn’t any option to predict what can go flawed, coming into into any engagement anticipating the sudden, and understanding you may must pivot or change plans in the end units you up for achievement. You possibly can’t plan for each attainable circumstance, however staying versatile and accepting that you just may want extra time or assets for some conditions may imply the distinction between a detailed name and outright mission failure. 

When Pen Exams Go Unsuitable by Bobby Kuzma and Valerie Thomas



We should higher put together to detect misinformation and disinformation within the age of AI

Winn Schwartau, legendary security researcher and expert witness who coined the term “Electronic Pearl Harbor” back in 1991, gave the ultimate keynote of ShowMeCon 2024, “The Artwork And Science of Metawar—Actuality Is Solely A Keystroke Away.” He explored the evolving panorama of cyber warfare and cognitive safety whereas technological developments are reshaping our notion of actuality and its implications for us as a society. This speak coated loads of floor, and there’s no manner I can seize all of the nuance, however listed below are my predominant takeaways. 

Winn makes use of the time period “metawar,” the place the strains between bodily and digital realities blur. That is removed from a brand new thought, although, as immersive storytelling has been influencing human habits for millennia. Human beings are always being manipulated by tales and pictures. Nonetheless, that is being taken to thoroughly new ranges of sophistication with superior applied sciences like AI and the metaverse. The quantity of data, together with misinformation and disinformation, at the moment being generated is orders of magnitude higher than anything we as a society have ever skilled. 

Thankfully, a confirmed option to fight the consequences of mis/disinformation is by coaching our brains to acknowledge it. Cambridge University has dubbed this process ‘pre-bunking.’ Identical to with any inoculation, a small quantity of precise misinformation is given however in a secure manner, absolutely explaining the context and learn how to spot it as false info. This trains our brains to be looking out for related unhealthy data, and the impact lasts for a few month. There are a variety of publicly funded research within the UK and the EU wanting into this phenomenon at scale, however sadly, the US is lagging behind on this area of analysis. 

The Artwork And Science of Metawar – Actuality is Solely a Keystroke Away by Winn Schwartau



ShowMeCon is again!

For over half the attendees, this was their first ShowMeCon. This contains your creator, who was there to offer a speak about cyber deception and honeytokens. All of us newcomers had been handled like household and made to really feel welcome from the primary moments of registration by the closing celebration. Someplace between the chaos of DEF CON and the coziness of the BSides I’ve been lucky sufficient to take part in, that is actually an occasion aside and one price testing in particular person subsequent yr once they return for ShowMeCon 2025.

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