Wednesday, September 19, 2007


HITBSecConf2007 Malaysia draws kudos and accolades from participants

Another Huge Success for Asia’s Largest Network Security Conference

KUALA LUMPUR, 18 September 2007 – The much anticipated HITBSecConf2007 Malaysia, Asia's largest network security conference, recently concluded their biggest hackers gathering to date. Hailed as one of the best organised and most relevant events in Asia by its participants and speakers, this year’s conference held at Hilton KL Sentral saw a record number of attendees (for specific comments, please refer to pages 3-4).

Attracting more than 750 attendees from 34 countries, the four-day training and conference series featured more than 40 security experts from 15 countries who converged at the event to deliver keynote addresses and various presentations.

“This year, the topics covered in the conference were more ‘real world’ issues such as Bluetooth hacking, SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition), GPS satellite-navigation and biometrics. All these topics are very relevant and the security aspects affect just about anyone and everyone out there,” said Dhillon Andrew Kannabhiran, founder and CEO of Hack in The Box (M) Sdn Bhd, organizer of the HITBSecConf series.


Attendees were given an insight into online crimes and honeypots during day 1 keynote presentations by F-Secure’s Mikko Hypponen and Honeynet’s Lance Spitzner. Day 2 keynotes saw Mark ‘Phiber Optik’ Abene and Emmanuel Goldstein of 2600 magazine regaling the audience with tales of hacker history, and legends as well as lessons learned from the early era of online battle of white hats vs black hats vs corporations.


This year’s conference also featured a wider array of new activities. The event’s technology exhibition showcase offered attendees a chance to try their skills at the Zone-H/HITB hacking challenge, enjoy an online multiplayer battle session at the BZFlag challenge organised by the US Army or to submit their resume for a recruitment drive which was conducted by Scanit ME LLC. One of the crowd’s favourite was the first ever Lock-Picking Village. Organised by members of TOOOL USA, attendees were invited to try their hand at picking physical locks and understanding the potential vulnerabilities of every day locks.

The annual Capture the Flag ‘live hacking’ competition also helped draw in the crowd. This year’s hacking competition attracted a total of 11 teams from seven countries including the United States (US Army), United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, and Korea. Touted as one of the hardest hacking challenges around, this year’s HITB CTF was playground to some of the best hackers battling it out for 2 straight days and ended with Team Sao Vang from Vietnam claiming the first prize of USD3,000. Runner-up was Team WabiSabiLabi from Switzerland, and Team Padocon of Korea claimed the USD1,000 third prize. Cash prizes were sponsored by SCAN Associates Bhd.

Charity drive in aid of MAKNA

Another highlight of the event was a charity drive in aid of the Malaysian National Cancer Council (MAKNA). A HITBSecConf Cinema for Charity session screened the movie, Freedom Downtime, for the very first time in Asia. The movie is produced and directed by Emmanuel Goldstein, editor and cofounder of security magazine 2600: The Hacker Quarterly. Other charity drive initiatives included the HITB Charity Auction, MAKNA’s own healthscan activity, and pledges from Dubai-based information technology (IT) security consulting company Scanit and Ascendsys Sdn Bhd where a total of RM20 was donated by both companies for every Scanit T-shirt worn during the conference. A total of RM9,271 was raised from all these activities and all proceeds will go to MAKNA.

“Overall I think the event was well received and new features like the lock picking village and upgraded Zone-H Hacking Challenge were hot favourites. Our focus now however is on HITBSecConf2008 – Dubai which takes place in April next year. We’re hoping to get more Malaysian companies involved this time around to showcase Malaysian made software and technology to the Middle East,” said Dhillon.

Comments from speakers HITBSecConf2007 Malaysia

Roberto Preatoni, Director of Strategy, WabiSabiLabi / Founder, Zone-H Defacement Mirror
HITBSecConf is definitely one of the coolest security conferences in the world. This is definitely the way for security awareness to be disseminated in the Asian market.

So far the security market has always been US-centric. I hope that in the future (which is already appearing now), it will be less US-centric and continue to be present in other parts of the world. Judging from CTF (Capture the Flag), there are many talented people over here and this is good for the network securty industry.

Window Snyder, Chief Security Something or Other, Mozilla Corporation
This is my fourth time at HITBSecConf and I'm glad to see that it is growing. It has a big presence in the Asian technology community and it's continuing to attract top notch talents. HITBSecConf has become a destination for security researchers from all over the world, and it is important for regional groups like this to encourage local talents and for businesses to hire security talents as these conferences enable local IT pros to focus on security development skills in the regional marketplace.

Alessio L.R. Pennasilico aka Mayhem – Security Evangelist, Alba S.T.s.r.I.
First of all, I'm astonished with HITBSecConf because it's one of the best and I truly respect it among all other security events. Here at HITBSecConf, I can find the best security professionals from all around the world. If you frequently read articles about IT security, you will be able to recognize all the speakers here. There are very interesting discussions happening all the time as this event is about sharing information and discussing problems (on security) and linking real people.

We have a clear vision about how the future has to be, but the market is not ready because a lot of customers do not want to invest money and are using very old security infrastructures. Here, we are committed and the main goal of this kind of events is to increase awareness and this is what we all are trying to do. We hope the people will care about privacy and security, and are looking at the current security market.

Alexander Kornbrust, Founder, Red Database Security GMBH
This is my first time in Malaysia and HITBSecConf is already one of my favourite conferences. I like the people and the country, but it’s a shame I don't have more time to spend here. On the future of security in Asia, it will take some time for awareness on security to gain a significant amount of attention. The people must understand the basic concepts (of security) and embrace it as part of their daily lives. For example, use strong passwords and apply patches – those alone raises the security bar for many companies in the world but unfortunately many companies are not doing so. Some markets tend to avoid complex systems, while the EU and US have complicated systems and it is difficult to maintain security that way because complexity is the enemy of security.

Dino Covotsos, Managing Director, TelSpace Systems
This is my first time in Kuala Lumpur but my second HITBSecConf as I was in Dubai earlier this year. I've been to many conferences worldwide, but this is an amazing and phenomenal event. HITB's crew deserve a lot of credit because this is a fantastic conference.

As a presenter, well, it's been great. Security will always be an on-going issue. It will always be a cause for concern and there will always be issues that arise. So it's important to keep it to a certain level and this is one of the perfect places to address that.

Thanks to Dhillon and his team for an amazing conference and experience, and I hope to come back next year.

Thomas, US Army
This is my third HITBSecConf (Two in Kuala Lumpur and one in Dubai) and it’s top shelf and getting better. These guys put up an awesome show every time we're here. Dhillon and Amy are just perfect. This time I brought seven (from the US Army) and next time I'll try to bring 14 because this is the best! The speakers at this event are probably some of the best for professional and personal growth.

A lot of trendsetters are here – you see the guys from F-Secure, and Scanit is coming to Asia. The workforce is here and there are a lot of development going on. People seem to be very security-focused based on all the the partnerships that are happening. Asia has unlimited potential to produce security researchers. Dhillon, he's the man. Dhillon is the man!

Andrea Barisiani, Chief Security Engineer, Inverse Path Ltd
This is my first time at HITBSecConf and all I can say is that it’s been an excellent experience. The line-up of speakers was good. There's going to be lots of attention focused on Asia because there's lots of development here. It was great fun and I'd love to be back here again.

Daniele Bianco, Hardward Hacker, Inverse Path Ltd
This is my first time in Asia, so HITBSecConf is my first conference too. Honestly, I have to say that everything was a fantastic experience – the conference was very well organized and the people were fantastic.

I think that events like HITBSecConf are really important for the security community because it's the only way for the security community to meet and discuss. Events like this are important for both security communities and also the layman because it's the only way that permits them to have a direct channel and experience with the high-level speakers.

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