Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hacker Halted Conference Summary

I attended the Hacker Halted USA 2008 Conference May 28 - June 3, 2008. My objective in attending this conference was to get a different perspective on cyber security and to evaluate the new Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Version 6 curriculum/certification at the request of a friend.

The first three days I attended the CEH course. This is normally a 5-day course. I think it was a mistake to try to jam 5 days of material into 3 days. Too much information was skimmed over or not presented. This was the first presentation of the Version 6 material. I knew that going into the course and expected more issues than were encountered. There were surprisingly few problems with the course material and labs. The instructor, on the other hand, was horrible. He was unfamiliar with the material, read straight from the slides, was not a very good speaker, and injected a lot of personal anecdotes that were laced with inaccuracies. I strongly recommend against taking any course from this instructor, Chuck Swanson. The only saving grace from this experience is that the CEH course material and labs are very good, in my opinion. The course material is over 4,000 pages. After the conference I went through the course and labs in-depth and I learned a lot.

The Hacker Halted conference was held jointly with the Techno Security and AccessData Users' Conferences. In total, there were probably 1,000 people in attendance. Attendees could go to any of the sessions, but I didn't take advantage of that. I attended the Hacker Halted sessions exclusively. I thought the Hacker Halted agenda was good, unfortunately 3 of the best speakers cancelled and their replacements were very underwhelming. The other presentations were good.

The target audience for the three conferences is forensic investigation, computer security, network administration, and law enforcement people. There were very few developers in attendance. I had the opportunity to talk with a lot of people with different backgrounds which is something I was looking forward to. I met some interesting people and had interesting conversations.

I am not sure that I would recommend this conference. It had lots of potential and if it lived up to its potential it would have been a very good conference.


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