The remarkable roots of Security BSides Delaware, the First State's cyber gem - Technical.ly Delaware

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Sep. 19, 2016 10:34 am

The remarkable roots of Security BSides Delaware, the First State’s cyber gem

How a beloved cybersecurity conference wants to remain free and accessible.

BSidesDE organizers Josh Marpet and Janice Paulson present a speaker with a surprise birthday cake.

(Photo by Ruth Bryna Cohen)

Cybersecurity has been a hot button issue for the First State, which is why events such as Security BSides are so important to us right now. Last year, the event took place during Delaware Innovation Week. This year, it will be a standalone event on the weekend of Oct. 7 at Wilmington University.

Mark Hufe from the WilmU’s College of Technology says he remembers when his former student, Janice Paulson came up with the idea.

“BSides conferences are international,” Hufe said. “Janice was a student of mine, she came to me eight years ago and said, ‘You know there’s conferences down in Washington, New York and there’s nothing here. We should put one up.'”

And put one up she did, six years in a row. This year will be her seventh year bringing Security BSides (formerly known as NeighborCon) to Delaware.

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What sets this conference apart? It’s free. And it was named after the B-side of a record.

“The metaphor is the ol’ 45 record,” explained Dr. Hufe. “A-sides were what you bought, and you got the B-sides for free.”

Security BSides Delaware also offers a SpawnCamp segment for children. “The first couple of years we realized that some parents were bringing their kids,” said Paulson. The kids get to spend time in “Lockpick Village” — a place where they can explore security vulnerabilities. “We’re teaching these kids things they can’t learn in a traditional school environment,” she added.

Paulson says there’s nothing like Security BSides in the region because of how accessible it is. Did we mention it’s free? It’s also kid friendly. Heck, they even have speakers who are kids.

“Our youngest speaker is Corbin Frisvold, who was about 12 years old last year. I think he’s homeschooled so this provides a great environment of enrichment for him. He spoke about programming for kids,” said Paulson.

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The conference is still taking ideas for workshops and speakers. It aims to be a resource for networking and recruiting in the state. The biggest focus is on students before they enter the workforce, the conference is meant to help them defeat “imposter syndrome” by giving them a safe space to learn, participate and network.

Tickets are still available.

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Rana Fayez

Rana Fayez was Technical.ly Delaware's lead reporter. She was previously business reporter and digital editor for the Delaware Business Times. In 2015, she won two awards from the Delaware Press Association for her coverage on consumer retail trends and technology news. When not storytelling, she's volunteering or making music.

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