I have a confession to make: I’ve been to a lot of hacking conferences, but I’ve seen hardly any talks from start to finish. It’s not that the talks aren’t interesting, they are! It’s not that I have trouble focusing on one thing for more than 10 minutes… okay fine, maybe it is a little bit. More than anything though, it’s because I don’t want to miss out on all the other things that are happening. I love doing the CTF, catching up with old friends and making new ones, picking locks, failing at soldering and whatever else is going on.
For a long time I’ve felt a bit guilty about attending a conference without seeing most of the talks, but I’ve since realised something: The social aspect of conferences is just as important as the content of the talks, perhaps more so.
Suddenly everyone is stuck at home. Our social lives are… well, limited. Conference schedules for this year have been crushed. At the risk of sounding too morbid, it feels like the epicentre of the hacking community has been obliterated. These are indeed turbulent times, not just for hackers – for everyone. There are inevitable downsides to COVID-19, it will have lasting impacts on our lives, but there are two sides to every story. Change also presents opportunity. The question then becomes, how will you respond? How will you prepare yourself for the new normal?
Thankfully, hackers are a resourceful bunch.
LevelUp is a free online hacking con started by Bugcrowd in 2017 to make both the content AND the social value of security conferences accessible to everyone, regardless of their means or where they live. COVID has transformed this accessibility from a nice-to-have to a have-to-have, and I’m excited that the sixth installment (LevelUp 0x06) is coming up on May 9th 2020.
Every installment of LevelUp has been great, but 0x06 has taken on new meaning for us at Bugcrowd. The online con format has obvious advantages: They encourage equality, eliminate travel time and cost, allow for more international speakers, allow greater anonymity/privacy and they can hold unlimited attendees. Those are all good things, but now they’re not just a convenient way to go to a con without pants. We’ve already seen virtual conferences like VirSecCon and ComfyCon pop up alongside LevelUp to fill the void, and they’re fast becoming a pillar of the hacking community.
I helped put together the list of speakers this year, and I’m getting more and more excited are the date approaches. We can’t tell you who all of them are yet, but I can tell you these ones: @snyff, @rhyselsmore, @halvarflake, @fuzzynop and @ChloeMessdaghi.
If you attend LevelUp 0x06, you’ll come away armed with invaluable knowledge from these and other security legends, and you’ll get to connect with them and many others in the scene throughout the day. We are designing LevelUp 0x06 to be a collaborative, social experience for everyone.
So, whether you are looking to level up your hacking skills, earn more bounties or socialise with other hackers – we’re looking forward to seeing you at LevelUp 0x06. Hack the new normal.