I’ve been involved in information technology and infosec since the mid-1990s. Until recently, I had not been actively attending infosec or hacker conferences.

I started attending DEF CON in 2013 when the conference was held at the Rio Hotel. DEF CON was the first hacker conference I ever attended. I did not know many in the community and certainly didn’t know what to expect. Quite frankly, I was overwhelmed by the size and scope of the event. I attended again in 2014, and my comfort level grew as I became more familiar with the event. My employer paid for me to take the SANS 560 course taught by Ed Skoudis (@edskoudis). That course and Ed’s passion for his craft motivated me to dig deeper into the world of information security.

In 2015, I decided it would be beneficial to seek out smaller conferences, so I attended NolaCon and participated in a training class taught by Georgia Wideman. That class was “Introduction to Penetration Testing” and “Advanced Penetration Testing.” I had a blast and began developing my skills as an amateur pen tester.

Over the next year, I took a bold step and began submitting talks relating to my work at AppRiver. I first submitted to NolaCon in 201 – I was accepted and gave my first InfoSec conference talk that May. I also submitted to BSides Las Vegas and was accepted into the Proving Ground track. I was fortunate enough to be assigned Dave Lewis (@gattaca) as my mentor. My talks were well received, and I continued to submit new material to various conferences.

Not every talk that I submitted was accepted. I spoke at BSides Atlanta in 2016 but was turned down for ShmooCon, HushCon, and initially CircleCityCon. I did attend HushCon so (Read more...)