Finance With Attitude

Those who personally partake in the autumn theater, or have bosses who are in the game, know this is the time of the year when bigger decisions are made.

Since everybody is exposed to big ticket items and larger numbers, throwing in the annual training cost is best done close to those discussions. A pro player separates the travel costs from the event cost, as these come from a different category anyways. Depending on your organization, there may or may not be leeway, so act accordingly.

Why go through all this trouble, our junior readers ask? Well, the discussion of attending t2’20 (and your other favorite cons) is a lot more easier for you and your boss, when everything has been agreed already beforehand and there is the money available for it. If you have a boss who appreciates employees making their life a tiny bit easier, giving the right support at the right time can go a long way. 

At the end of the day, your boss is the one who needs to figure out the right course of action after the Good Idea Fairy visited C-level executive(s) and they decided to go three levels deep into the budgeting spreadsheet to make cuts without any discussion on its impact or guidance on a new direction. Or maybe your boss was naive enough to provide accurate numbers from the get-go, when everyone else was inflating their numbers in anticipation of the first round of cuts. 

The worst kind of budgeting wizard just runs out of money in Q4, and the rest of the organization takes the hit. For those, you reserve your sneakiest DDE payload, figure out a chain of actions resulting in the file on their workstation, get the code running (everyone clicks OK at some point), establish persistence and wipe the payload from the original file. Whatever happens after this is left as an exercise for the reader.

Talking of planning, the big game hunter is saving up their Office 0days for this time of the year. Depending on the organization structure and budgeting process, it might be trivial to land your carefully crafted version of the budgeting numbers on at least one C-level workstation. Be sure to take note well in advance if someone is deviating from corporate policy with their device choice – this is most likely one of the easiest targets from exploitation perspective, as you can bet it lacks some or all hardening. IT isn’t too keen on debugging mysterious crashes happening to a unique snowflake, in case your toolkit isn’t that stable. Bonus points given for pretexting service desk with a false track record of unstable behaviour on a similar device, if you just can’t be bothered to get your budget items stable enough.

Not that any of these kinds of hypothetical things ever happen in real life. It would be ridiculous to potentially burn valuable exploits when you can just enjoy the adrenaline rush of quick rubber ducky action on the top floor, or casually misplace USB-cables in the right meeting rooms (Outlook Scheduling Assistant is your friend here).

So, get those events locked down on the budget level. Getting the commitment for your attendance well in advance never hurts.

After all, bug bounty and exploit money is typically reserved for bottle service, fast cars, exotic vacations and expensive handbags. And yeah, while Helsinki definitely can tick those boxes, we hope that the main reason for attending is our curated and hand picked program – finally available in its complete version.

t2’19 speakers confirmed

The CFP is over for this year and the speaker lineup is ready for your reading pleasure.

Without sounding too enthusiastic for a Finn, it’s difficult not to get excited when there are entries on the agenda like the keynote from John Lambert, Distinguished Engineer and General Manager of the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center. A seasoned t2 attendee might remember him from sparking the original inspiration behind olleB’s t2’15 talk ”If attackers think in graphs, why can’t we?”.

Looking at the schedule, it’s both refreshing and rousing to see research targeting wireless input devices and VPN clients. Both could easily be dismissed during target selection as mature technology, yet here we are. Having said that, there’s still a healthy focus on modern and up-and-coming tech in the agenda, such as using machine learning for vulndev.

Traditionally this post always ends with a gentle reminder to get your ticket early. The sales have been open for a couple of months and a good chunk of the tickets have already been sold. If you haven’t bought yours already, there’s not a better time for action than right now.

Call for papers 2019

We’re back. October 24-25 in Helsinki. CFP and ticket sales are now open.

Looking for an event worthy of your 0days or world class research? Prefer conference disclosure over jumping through hoops with uninterested vendors? Worried of sponsors doing shady backroom deals to block your talk? We’ve got your back. As an independent, vendor-neutral, practically-non-profit conference we value freedom of information and our guests over everything else – ethos, which has kept us going for the past fifteen years.

Organized for hackers by hackers, we’re the oldest technical security event in Finland. Our goal of providing audience with high quality technical content and a welcoming atmosphere, competitive on a global scale, brings people to Helsinki annually from all around the globe. Whether you’re coming from US, Israel, Russia, Germany, UK, France, Singapore, or heaven forbid, even Sweden, you’re guaranteed to find like-minded people to share ideas or drinks with.

“What happened in Vegas does not happen in Finland”

— Eevil Stöö


Never heard of Finland? No worries, we’re used to it! In addition to being the home country of Slush, we have a vibrant Moomin based import-export relationship with Japan. Luckily the Finnish language is as easy to learn as Japanese, only less popular. Here, in the home country of Linux, technology is so ingrained into our culture that even gangsta rappers know what’s up. As a nation, we’re also very comfortable with the idea of having a meeting naked – as long as traditional Sauna is involved.

t2’19 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 playing Jenga with memory allocators, practical cryptographic attacks against hardware, blinking the wrong LEDs, DIY torque vectoring, stealing Wu-Tang albums with Bill Murray, bypassing modern exploit mitigation techniques, combining policy work with offensive/defensive technology, running a Whisk(e)y distillery, having a complicated relationship with nation states, efficient data analysis of Internet traffic streams on botanical continent level, hacking space shuttles, catching bad guys with SIGNIT, nondestructive / covert entry, professional shitposting, elegant cyber crime 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 2019-07-31. Slide deck submission final deadline 2019-09-11 for accepted talks.

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] {“enableDebug”:true, “password”:”changeme”}
[6] Except literally @nudehaberdasher and @0xcharlie

2019 dates announced

Get your calendar out and be ready for another edition of t2! Like a French scientist once remarked, in the field of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind.

Dates announced: t2 infosec in Helsinki | October 24-25, 2019 | 15 years of technical security excellence #t2infosec

With that out of the way, we are also updating the process for giving out complimentary tickets. After successfully running the t2 challenge for over a decade, and then giving a shot at other formats, we are retiring the concept of a challenge. While this marks the end of an era, it does not mean we have stopped appreciating fresh and upcoming talent – on the contrary, we feel it is extremely important to give young guns a helping hand and an opportunity to jump-start their artisanal career in the craft of cyber.

Instead, starting 2019, each member of the advisory board has the power to annually reward a person (or an entity) with a free ticket. As before, this free entry entitles the recipient to all the same benefits given to a regular ticket holder. To commemorate that special moment, we have ordered custom t2 challenge coins. All hints and tips are naturally appreciated, so if you know someone who in your opinion deserves a free entry, please let us know! Elegant bribery, trickery, subterfuge, exploitation or other artful, mischievous behavior requiring skill is always appreciated.

Greetings to Daniele Bianco for the awesome challenge coin design! Pics will be posted on Twitter once the coins arrive.

Halvar Flake keynote

The advisory board and organizers of t2 are honored and pleased to have Halvar Flake deliver the headlining keynote for the 15th anniversary edition of the event. His speaking history with t2 starts in 2005, and Halvar is certainly recognized as one the luminaries in the field. The following teaser provides a taste of what to expect.

Risks, Damn Lies, and Probabilities

IT continues to bring pervasive change to our societies, industries, and everyday life. This transformation also brings individualized and complicated risks to individuals, companies, and to societies.

IT security is, to some extent, charged with managing these risks. But for an industry tasked with managing risk, we are pretty unstructured in thinking about risk, accounting for risk, and most of all: Holding ourselves and other tech executives accountable for estimates of risks and their probabilities.

The IT industry is often incentivized to incur risks on behalf of others – and to underestimate the actual magnitude of these risks. Customers are either not empowered or not incentivized to challenge excessively rosy risk estimates. Entire executive careers in IT are built on underestimating risks incurred for others.

This talk will cover my observations about the ways we think sloppily about risk and harm, about the IT industries’ lack of risk management for systemic risks, and some thoughts about holding IT industry executives accountable for their risk estimates and decisions.

— Halvar Flake