Firstly, this is the first post I've written on The Many Hats Club (TMHC) for a while, but seeing as we recently won an award for "Best New Blog", it only seemed fitting to share the wonderful experience of last week at both Infosecurity Europe and Bsides London.
There is some good old news
Before we get into that, lets share some of the recent(ish) good news about TMHC. We celebrated our 18 months of being a Partnered Discord Community, Podcast, and apparently Blog. Building a community from nothing, to one of the largest, or most recognised, is still a shock to me on a daily basis. However, one of the things with running a large community of 6,000 or so infosec people, it's hard to quantify the impact the community has on people's lives. Interestingly some posts on twitter in Feb/March highlighted this, and I got a little emotional (again).
Moreover, what peaked my interest in looking through these old tweets is that there is a correlation between what the community is doing and the positive impact we are having, and these two tweets sum this up nicely.
Infosecurity Europe- Home of Buzzword Bingo
Let me take you on a voyage of discovery where I met some of the most awesome people, might of got banned from an event for Social Engineering, and maybe won an award.
Infosecurity Europe is one of the largest security conference in London, that is hosted over 3 days and boasts thousands of attendees, and attracts high profile speakers and vendors.
For those that don't know me that well I've been attending Infosecurity Europe for more years than I care to count (14), and although its a great show, its more about Vendor arm wrestling than anything else. But there is value to be had, some great talks, and an opportunity to swag some sweet merch.
I was lucky enough to be invited to the Thirsty Club hosted by Exclusive Networks, who put on an awesome event, the free street food and booze might of helped. It was there that I met fellow TMHC community member from Custodian360 Nikki who later joined us at the awards.
Next the assembled crew of TMHC members descended upon Infosecurity Europe, where we met Kathryn Bennett from the CyberManiacs and MrH4sh from HackTheBox who are helping design our CTF later this year, also managed to swag some sweet merch from Cybereason.
With bags full of merch and buzzword bingo card filled in, we all headed off to The EU CyberSecurity Blogger Awards.
The EU CyberSecurity Blogger Awards
Picture this, a room full of infosec legends, household names, and a lot of TMHC friends, and me (imposter syndrome anyone). I've been a few awards ceremonies, and this was the least formal, and most fun attended to date. Plus we all got to meet and talk to some really great people, Troy Hunt, Javvad Malik, Scott Helme, Jenny Radcliffe, Ed Tucker, and many more.
Surprisingly TMHC and myself were up for a bunch of awards, Best Podcast which went to the awesome DarkNet Diaries - well done Jack Rhysider, best Twitter Account, Best Technical Blog, amongst a few other categories. I somehow found myself shortlisted in the Infosec hall of fame which rightly went to Troy Hunt, although some amusing person entered me in as StuWu!!
But we won "Best New Blog", which was super amazing, and the TMHC corner made so much noise I could hardly hear myself! So I walked on to stage in front of my peers, heroes, community members and dropped this speech;
Thank you so much for this award, we don't even have a blog!
And walked immediately off stage! Within minutes of winning the trophy it was whisked out of my hands by Simon Draper, and without my knowledge was being passed around in the bar downstairs, where people were taking selfies, drinking out of the trophy, and tagging me in twitter!
After everyone won their awards, a group of us (including the Beerfarmers), peeled off to rejoin the free food and drink provided by Exclusive Networks, sadly this did not last too long. As over the course of the day I slowly added people to the guest list, apparently 25 people is too many! And after a quick Google search, they realised I was a Social Engineer and banned me from the event! :(
So everyone headed back to The Awards Ceremony, where many, many drinks were consumed.
Before we wrap up the awards, I'd like to share this gem of an image with my good friends Jenny and Ed...
So Bsides London then...
My start to Bsides London was a little interesting, when you get woken up by Chivato shining a torch in your face, you question a lot of life decisions! Worse still he video'd me!
Its there we met Ragsec, Cyberviking, Fenrir, McLabraid, AlanTheBlank, Tall Panda, Frootware, Daniel Card, Jack, Chrissy Morgan, Qpix, Ben DWP, the OWASP London Crew (Sam Stepanyan, Dav, etc), and met some cool new friends of TMHC such as May, Wolfniya, 𝖉𝖆𝖜𝖓𝖙𝖗𝖆𝖈𝖐𝖊𝖗, UID0 and many, many more! (sorry if I missed you).
The need for the "hair of the dog" was so great that most of TMHC crew seemed to be permanently parked in the Bar at the ILEC for most of the day.
So in between bumping into the likes of Dr. Jess Barker, Freaky Clown, and Steve Lord, I attended a few talks, all of which were pretty decent. However the highlight for me was TheBeerFarmers (TBF), talk, with special guests Troy Hunt and Scott Helme.
TBF talk optimises what is great about this industry, talking about serious subjects, making it accessible for all, and not taking ourselves too seriously, the infosec rock band, that don't act like infosec rockstars.
If you've listened to any of their podcasts on TMHC, or attended their previous talks, you may of noticed that TBF are massive fans of Facebook </Sarcasm> the irony in this scenario was the Facebook stand was literally right outside track 2, couldn't of been better if they tried!
After the talk we all headed back to the bar, just to mix things up a little. Before the con I came up with a neat drinking game, Scammerz, where if you get caught, or anger a scammer on a call, you down your drink. Sadly we did not get to play this, but we did call some scammers, and managed to convince Troy Hunt to join in. This was possibly the most amusing situation I've been involved in at a con, and I don't think Ragsec will clean his laptop again also!
Finally bumped into @Sailingbikeruk who did his first ever con talk, after listening to our podcast with Rachel Tobac, he was so inspired that he submitted some talks, and was accepted into Bsides London and Liverpool!!! Thoroughly nice chap also.
So next we headed to the Bugcrowd after party, where we met long time TMHC meetup supporter and sponsor Phil who put on a great event.
But Nandos was calling, so after what seemed like many hours of hanging around, we ventured off onto the streets on London, 15 or so infosec people, and an electric scooter- which was awesome! Sadly due to some navigation issues, not naming anyone here (Chivato), we ended up at Nandos too late, so we settled for a Weatherspoons. Meanwhile Dylan Wheeler was plotting the greatest after party at our suite... just like the Evil Genius he is.
The After, After Party
So after what seemed like an eternity we bumped into some people on our way back to our Suite, who later joined us at the after party. We hurried back to the hotel, and were greeted by the most amount of alcohol I've seen in a while, and at this point there was only 10 of us. Firstly Dylan Wheeler from Day After Exploit Ltd, did an amazing job in hosting TMHC after, after party. And much of what went on will be remembered for many years #hackerfam.
Some of the highlights, well there is a story about me and Champagne that goes back to CyberRecoded 2018, where after we managed to "acquire" some champagne I somehow got covered in it like a Formula 1 racing driver, however I didn't feel like much of a winner. Dylan was there also that night, and we both have fond memories of how he somehow came away without even a splash, yet somehow I was covered head to toe. It seemed that history was about to repeat itself. (See Video on Dylans Twitter)
After the initial antics died down, we had some really deep and interesting discussions about disclosure, hacking, ethics, and career choices. We were later joined by a larger crew of about another 10 people where we continued until the wee hours.
In summary, TMHC has brought people together from all backgrounds from all over the world, wherever there is a con, there is bound to be a friendly TMHC face. This is not something I ever expected when we first created this community but damn, I'm so glad for it, TMHC fam for life. Until next time, I'm going to drink out of this trophy until I get ill.
More About TMHC...
If this is the first time you are learning about TMHC, and want to know our backstory then we have three really good articles about us here: