Notes from AusCERT 2008

The interesting discussions from the Australian security conference

Alexander Seger spoke about the Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime. Essentially, the Convention on Cybercrime is attempting to facilitate a global approach on cybercrime by creating judicial agreement on computer security laws and procedures. Cybercrime, by its very nature, often crosses state, federal, and national boundaries. The convention hopes to give criminals fewer places to hide by making globally common laws. It deals with substantive criminal law, criminal procedure law, and police and judicial cooperation. Signed by many European and non-European nations (it's even ratified by the United States), what it is trying to accomplish has to be successful if we are to have any hope of diminishing cybercrime. Learn about it and push for it.

There were dozens of other equally interesting speakers. Bill Cheswick ("father of perimeter firewalls and honeypots") talked about the future use of passwords. David Litchfield, of Oracle-hacking database fame, discussed his soon to be freely released forensic collection database tool known as Quisix. Microsoft's Scott Charney, delivering the conference keynote, discussed the history of Internet malware and ended with the End-to-End Trust initiative. If you haven't seen Mr. Charney, he's among Microsoft's best C-level speakers.

Even the Aussie press was ever present. Speaker topics and quotes were relayed to online and mainstream sources that would make any news service jealous. Although many of the headlines were intentionally provocative (reporters have to make a living too), the article content was fairly evenhanded, including when covering controversial topics.

I always love conferences where I'm more excited about sitting in the audience than I am about speaking there. AusCERT 2008 was one of those conferences, and I recommend it to anyone who wants short talks (most are 45 minutes or less) that are high on content and low on marketing fluff.

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Roger A. Grimes

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