I guess you are wondering why I said hello in Japanese. I have just recently returned from attending the 21st Forum of Incident Handling and Security Teams (FIRST) annual conference hosted in the awesome city of Kyoto in Japan. The city of Kyoto is beautiful. I was amazed at all the interesting palaces and temples located right in the middle of a modern city. It was truly awesome. What was even more awesome was the 21st FIRST Annual Conference. You have heard us here at Microsoft talk a lot lately about community-based defense initiatives. These initiatives drive the security ecosystem to work in a coordinated fashion to address security issues. This works best by creating a community that is built on trust and common goals. The common goal here is to build coordinated defense from attacks. FIRST is one such trusted, security-focused community. This is one reason why Microsoft supports their efforts. As a community of incident and security response teams, FIRST provides a trusted network to share information and provide coordination efforts that is all member-driven.
Most members work for larger companies but their efforts in the FIRST organization are at times above and beyond the duties of their jobs. FIRST relies on its member community to do a lot of work since it is a not-for-profit organization. The conferences are no different. This year the Japanese local teams of FIRST had the task of assisting the conference organizers set things up. Let me say they did an excellent job. It was surreal from the banquet to the mixer session; it was, in a word, “exquisite.” I personally loved the entertainment by a troupe of local taiko drummers. Check them out here.
It wasn’t all fun and games, though some of it was. Check out the picture above. As you can see, we got the rare chance to interact with the potential future security community thanks to Ziv Mador, a Microsoft security professional from the Microsoft Malware Protection Center (MMPC) group, who brought his family along to the conference. Thanks to Eyal and Ofer Mador who provided us a wonderful chance to show them how cool security professionals can be.
Back to business. As a member of the Steering Committee (SC), we meet year round. However, we usually conduct most annual business at the conference. That business can range from giving status updates on projects to providing the organization’s financial numbers. We also hold elections for the committee when an SC member’s term is up. This year, we elected two new members to the SC, joining the three current members of the committee.
Speaking of elections, I am glad that Microsoft views our participation in FIRST as a key thing. This is extremely good, as it seems I will be spending a fair bit more time working on the FIRST Steering Committee and Board of Directors. At this annual general meeting (AGM), I was elected to be the Chairman of the Steering Committee and President of the Board of Directors for FIRST. I look forward to stepping into these roles to help steer the organization toward its goals.
The conference tracks presented were great and focused on relevant problems faced by incident handling teams, from network monitoring to malware analysis.
We also conducted meetings of special interest groups (SIG) to cover in-depth problems and issues faced by members in the same interest and focus areas. These sessions are really great because you get to meet like-minded peers who are facing the same problems you face. The Law Enforcement SIG and Network Monitoring SIG were well attended this year.
You have heard Andrew Cushman talk about “Hallway Tracks” as a way to label all connections and conversations taking place outside of the presented tracks. The hallway tracks at the conference were golden. The amount of focused security discussion I had out in the hallway will have me set for a month with action items.
Well, that’s it for now. But before I go I wanted to take the time to introduce a new member to the EcoStrat Team. I want to welcome Karl Hanmore to the team. He comes to us from Auscert with a strong CERT background. He will be with us in Vegas at Black Hat… so see ya there!
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