Disclaimer: This set of videos was provided to me by O’reilly for review purposes. I’ve made every effort to be fair in my review of this product.
While I’ve worked in IT for over 15 years, I’ve primarily focused on support and business intelligence applications. I’ve always been interested in programming and network security though. On my list is the goal of attending a security/hacker conference, but I have a ways to go in my education for it to be of any benefit.
Suits and Spooks is a cyber security conference that is held four times a year. This particular set of recordings is from New York City in 2013. The conference is unique in that is a limited attendee conference that allows for greater and more detailed interaction between the speakers and attendees. It is also a single track conference allowing for better overall focus. All presenters come to the conference knowing that they may be challenged by attendees which allows for a freer flow of information and debate.
The videos touch on this to some degree. There are several points throughout the presentations where attendees ask questions in the flow of the presentation for clarification or to challenge a presented point. A tip of the hat to the conference recorders in their setup. 95% of the questions that were asked were recorded clearly allowing for a better overall feel in watching the videos. The split screen of video and presenter slides was well done as well.
The content is top notch. I would guess it is true of all events, but for this one in particular the topics were pretty high level. This doesn’t seem to be a conference aiming at the newest and greatest ways of locking down a business network. Topics covered included using technology to track poachers in Africa, using social media on the ground to help in urban warfare, a new security attack aimed at getting information for money, and an overview of state actors currently active in cyberspace.
As I stated I’m not currently working in cybersecurity, but I found the presentations to be informative. Some of the solutions presented have helped me to step outside of accepted technological paradigms to find creative solutions in day-to-day business dealings. Plus it was very informative from a cultural standpoint in how technology is being used by people around the world.
The thirteen video set runs for $149.99 at O’Reilly’s site. I little on the high side, but worth it for the information presented. You can find it right here.