The Art of the Budget hacking

It’s that time of the year again. To commemorate the 15th anniversary edition of t2, we wanted to open up the reasoning behind the frequent reminders to allocate training budget for t2 and our friendly suggestions for early registration.

Before getting to the nitty gritty it’s important to highlight that we organize t2 out of love, both for community/scene and hackerdom. This cannot be done for any other reason.

Conferences, and event business in general, imposes certain rules of business and financial terms on the organizers. These are location and time insensitive, and apply to most parts of the world.

  • Venue
    • Needs to be booked well in advance, and unless you have been doing business for a long time, they require a prepayment of some sort.
    • Once you confirm dates, you are committed. Cancellation terms do exist but it’s not like you can bail out at the last moment.
    • Multiple this by the number of locations (e.g. you plan on organizing dinners related to the event).
  • Liquidity
    • To offset for invoices due before the event, you either need to have healthy finances with some buffer from the previous years or take a loan (usually from the main organizer who takes the biggest financial risk personally). If ticket sales start early, you might have enough cash flow to balance everything out.
  • Travel arrangements
    • After CFP is done, you have the confirmed speakers and the event is nearer, the booking of flights begins. If you are covering 100% travel cost, you want to optimize the time of purchase to get the best price. Not too soon, not too late.
    • Here you have the risk of cancellations, or other last minute changes – all part of normal life.
  • Scale economics
    • Applies to your business only if you’re Jeff Moss. Forget you ever heard the term, more important jargon is MOQ.
    • Smaller the number of maximum attendees and planned financial upside, smaller the window of error between loss, breakeven and profit.
  • Sponsors
    • Depending on the year, sponsors might save the day when it comes to event’s financial performance. Fewer sponsors means smaller risk margin.
    • Some sponsors would prefer to have the attendance list (with contact details, of course) or buy speaking slots. t2 does sells neither of those.
    • Please take a moment to check out what the valued sponsors are doing during the event and online. Few events could do without them.
  • Conference schwag
    • Needs to be ordered well in advance to account for unexpected delays. Typically a prepayment is required, as your vendor needs to pay their suppliers and/or material.
    • Even when using high quality partners, you will have defects. More professional the partner, the easier it will be sort out the mess.
    • You end up ordering a good amount of extras to account for everything, and then giving these away for free the following year (or during the year, unless you organize an exclusive luxury fashion event in case you burn the extras with the receipts)

Having been in the game for well over a decade, most of it with the same partners, we have been able to build the trust and negotiate cash flow friendly payment terms. It’s like playing Tetris during the year with the calendar, but the blocks are invoices and you are actually gambling.

Nevertheless, each year the familiar friendly faces in the audience, the first timers and returning speakers make it all worthwhile.  It’s an honor to have the event filled with enough intelligence to make your brain hurt. With that out there in the open, we hope you register your ticket to this year’s 15th anniversary celebrations sooner than later!

 

t2’18 schedule online

The schedule for 2018 is now online.

We are extremely excited to have two excellent keynote speakers. The headlining keynote comes from none other than Halvar Flake himself, and Friday starts with a live action keynote by Viss. While we don’t officially have tracks as such, the themes revolve this year around machine learning, hardware, and vulnerability research, with a mix of exploitation and lessons learned.

It’s funny how things come together – we were never going for a classic t2 lineup, but ended up getting one nevertheless. Regular visitors and long time friends might notice that the list of speakers revisits 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. All in all, seven talks out of thirteen are given by people who have been with us before, many of them several times. As such, we feel this suits the 15th anniversary celebrations well.

Slightly over 30% of the tickets were sold during the summer, and since 2014 we’ve been sold out one to two months before the event. Register now.

t2’18 challenge winner announced

This year we altered the challenge format once again, and ran it in the form of a free-format application over e-mail between the 4th of July and 4th of August. Neither attempts at bribery nor cheating were noticed, which was a slight but acceptable disappointment for the Advisory Board.

As it has been the case in the past, the same names often show up in the Hall of Fame. Whether it’s the technical talent, persistent effort or being in the right place at the right time, Fortune favors the bold.

Congratulations Carl “Zeta Two” Svensson! Well done!

To demonstrate what it took to receive the ticket, here are selected highlights from his long application:

We would also like to thank everybody who participated in the challenge this year. Your submissions were greatly appreciated. In other news, the ticket sales have been active during the summer and we are expecting a flood of registrations once the preliminary schedule is released. To make sure you don’t miss out, register now to guarantee your place at the 15th anniversary edition of t2.

t2’18 challenge

Regular visitors and friends of t2 know our struggles with the annual challenge. The main purpose behind the puzzle has always been to find and recognize passionate people who have the talent, but sometimes lack the necessary budget to attend the event. We strongly believe in paying it forward and this tradition is something we want to hold on to.

For t2’18 the annual challenge will take a new form. To showcase technical excellence and prove you deserve a free ticket, all you need to do is submit an open application (preferably in ASCII format) over e-mail. Whether it’s your tool repository on github, awesome local meetup presentation, craziest exercise in memory manipulation, a recent bug bounty submission or something completely different, let us know. Supporting evidence goes a long way.

Rules of the challenge

  • The Advisory Board will select 0-2 ticket recipients out of the submissions
  • Challenge deadline is August 4, 2018 @ 23:59:59 UTC
  • Submissions must be sent to info-2018@lists.t2.fi
  • Criteria for selection is unscientific, tough but fair and may change at any time
  • Participants unestablished in the security industry will receive a scoring multiplier
  • The free ticket entitles to the same perks as a single regular ticket
  • Travel costs (if required to participate) are not covered by the prize
  • Decisions are final, but we still love you. It’s not you, it’s us. We hope we can still be friends.

Call for Papers 2018

Join us for the 15th anniversary celebrations on Oct 25-26! CFP and ticket sales are now open.

To truly appreciate the full spectrum of cyber, one simply needs to visit Helsinki. Sooner or later you need a break from the sunshine and warmth, and it is exactly that contrast we can provide. Located halfway between Miami and Singapore (the long way round), just 3200 km NNW of Tel-Aviv, we can offer you a wintry experience which has almost nothing to do with those cities[0]. More than once the first snow has fell in Helsinki during t2, making the small and intimate conference a tiny bit comfier.

What is Finland all about? In addition to having won 2018 U18 ice hockey world championship[1], the latest UN studies[2] describe Finland as the happiest country in the world. Sauna, sisu[3] and perkele – the three pillars of a small, yet resourceful nation which created Linux kernel, ice skates, and the safety reflector. In the capital city Helsinki a reasonable person can walk safely in the middle of the night, enjoy clean tap water and partake in naked[4] swimming.

At t2 we embrace that national essence – punctuality and reliability. We organize this conference out of love and do our best to make it a memorable experience to both speakers and audience alike. If you’re in doubt, just send questions with #t2infosec hashtag on Twitter for an (un)biased opinion. This is an event from hackers to hackers.

t2’18 offers you an audience with a taste for technical security presentations containing original content. This is your chance to showcase the latest research and lessons in memory manipulation, practical cryptographic attacks, subverting secure hardware, exploitation of artificial intelligence, avoiding murder mysteries and train robberies, targeting needles from haystacks, securing the enterprise, secdevops/devsecops, industrial control systems, remote centrifuge operation, upstream collection, covert entry, TLAs or any other relevant research containing the type of love and happiness appreciated by seasoned conference attendees.

The advisory board will be reviewing submissions until 2018-07-31.
First come, first served. Submissions will not be returned.

Quick facts for speakers
+ presentation length 60-120 minutes, in English
+ complimentary travel and accommodation for one person[6]
+ decent speaker hospitality benefits
+ no marketing or product propaganda

Still not sure if this is for you? Check out the blast from the past.

Considering many of our visitors know what they want and trust us to deliver, we’re making their life easy.. The registration is now open!

The total amount of attendees, including speakers and organizers is limited to 99.

How to submit
Fill out the form at https://t2.fi/action/cfp

[0] We do have running water and electricity (as of writing)
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IIHF_World_U18_Championship even in the
medal statistics we’re the neutral buffer between the West and the East
[2] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-43414145
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisu
[4] https://www.hel.fi/helsinki/en/culture/sports/indoor/swimming/yrjonkatu-swimming-hall
[5] hunter2
[6] Except literally @nudehaberdasher and @0xcharlie