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

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.