RSA – If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Bill Gates


The RSA Conference is expanding, a person might say, to fill the size of the need for good security info. You’ve got the golden ticket to the Moscone Center, your shoes are comfortable, and your expense reports are prepared for the shock of downtown San Francisco. Your co-workers, the ones stuck back at the office for the week, hate you. Life is good.

Sure it is, pal. Look at the conference schedule and despair, because once again your clone army isn’t ready to attend the event with you, fanning out to catch all the panels and so forth you’re going to miss.

Good security info? No lack of it at RSA. What you need are clones or time. Barring more of either, you’d take a cheat sheet to which events seem most likely to give you the feeling that though you couldn’t be everywhere at RSA, you were where you wanted to be. We here at will be covering as many of these events as we can, of course; keep an eye on the Security Knowledge Center and our security blogs for more information. Here’s what to expect, day by day:


Come on, now. If you’re on board for Monday, you’ve already selected the tutorial of your dreams — “Learn to Speak Crypto” (event M11-TUT, located in Burgundy Room 130, 9:00 a.m.), perhaps. If you’re still in transit, take a moment to contemplate this year’s conference inspiration, Renaissance polymath and father of Western cryptography Leon Battista Alberti. Reflect glumly on ability of Alberti to pursue painting, architecture, mathematics, a rigorous workout schedule, etc. while developing the first known Western polyalphabetic cipher. Note that Alberti never had to file quarterly reports and didn’t have e-mail. Suspect the march of progress is headed backwards.


The keynote to beat is Bill Gates, whom you may recognize from Jon Stewart’s show the other day (event KEY-101, Hall D, 8:00 a.m.); more techish folk should also enjoy the all-star Cryptographers Panel (KEY-104, Hall D, 10:40am). Elsewhere, the expo floor opens. You’ve got three panel time slots on Tuesday, and each has not one but two speakers you’d love to hear. This will, by the way, be the easiest day of the week. 1:30 p.m. sessions Plenty of rootkit fun for everyone this hour. If you’re not ready for Eset Software LLC’s demo on the expo floor (EXPO-103), head for the “Rootkits: Beyond Good and Evil” panel, an intermediate-level discussion with kit developers, academics and deployers (HT1-105, Green Room 102).

3:00 p.m. sessions Perennial draw Bruce Schneier (EXP-106, Green Room 103) holds forth on the Psychology of Security. Always good stuff, but consider instead dropping on anti-malware maven Eugene Kaspersky (HT1-106, Green Room 102) detailing “the Dark Side of Cybercrime: Details on the Latest Hacker Tactics from Around the World.” From Moscow with love, that’s right. And intellectual-property folk may enjoy Naomi Fine and Yvonne Kisiel’s group discussion on “Information Classifications: How do IS, Legal and Users Find Commons Ground?” (P2P-106B, Orange Room 238) Ah, but the ground is already common; it’s capturing the territory that’s at stake… what, wrong attitude? Sorry…

4:10 p.m. sessions If you can’t spare time for talk of futuristic “spear-phishing” techniques at “Phuture Phishing: More Targeted Then Ever” (CONS-107, Gold Room 307), you’ll have to choose between two big panels: “Virtualization and Security” featuring Oracle Chief Technology Officer Mary Ann Davidson (DEPL-107, Burgundy Room 130) and “Handling a Massive ID Theft” (EXP-107, Green Room 103) with the FBI’s Dan Larkin and former White House cybersecurity adviser Howard Schmidt. To repeat, the week will only get tougher from here.

5:40 p.m. sessions You’ve got to admire whoever scheduled the “Hacking Hollywood” look at technology in pop culture (with’s Johnny Long, HT1-X108, Green Room 102) for day’s end — a nice way to wrap up the first insane day. If you’re still relatively alert, though, consider either “Honeyclient Tech and Client-Side Exploit Research” with The Mitre Corp. information security engineer Kathy Wang (HT2-108, Green Room 104) or the empaneled goodness of “It’s The Data: Securing the Enterprise in the Age of the Data Breach,” with the Ponemon Institute’s Lawrence Ponemon leading the charge (BUS-108, Gold Room 301). Wednesday

There’s a fresh (?) face in today’s keynoter lineup as Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison takes the stage in the civilized 2:45 p.m. time slot (Hall D). Other names you might recognize today include the ever-fascinating Ray Kurzweil, talking up the Singularity at 5:00 p.m. (Hall D) and columnist Ira Winkler squaring off against Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras at “Identity Theft and Cybercrime: Where Thieves, Victims, Industry and Government Intersect” (TOWN-204, Green Room 103, 12:15 p.m.).

Elsewhere on Wednesday:

8:00 a.m. sessions Tough choices early in the day, with many good panels in this spot. AJAX folk should make note of the first of two security panels of interest; the other’s on Friday, so your schedule may be better for this morning’s “AJAX Security: Smashing Web 2.0 for Fun and Profit,” brought to you by Mike Armistead and Arthur Do of Fortify Software Inc. (HT2-201, Green Room 104). Government cybersecurity mavens will convene at ‘Protecting U.S. Cyberspace: Coordinating National Response to Cyberattacks” (GOV-201, Burgundy Room 130, and let’s all be sure to ask about the Boston Aqua Teen Hunger Force incident). One suspects that the mainstream media will be flocking to the Big Scariness that topic entails, but perhaps some of them will temper their views with Daniel Houser at “Debunking InfoSec Myths and Urban Legends” (EXP-201, Green Room 103). Let’s ask him about Aqua Teen Hunger Force while we’re at it.

9:10 a.m. sessions Bring the sticks and torches — we’re going bot-hunting with Christopher Boyd and Anthony Porter of FaceTime Communications Inc., who promise live demonstrations at “Botnet Live: Tracing, Chasing and Building the Case to Bust the Bad Guys” (HT1-202, Green Room 102). Those hoping to get a handle on the security problems that exist between chair and keyboard are directed to Gold Room 307, where Trend Micro Inc. global director of education David Perry and University of Houston professor Art Conklin will hold forth on “End-User Behavior and Internet Security” (CONS-202). More use for the sticks and torches, perhaps. Or you can go grill a Visa U.S.A. Inc. vice president Eduardo Perez and his co-panelists at “Keep Your Customers Loyal: Avoid the Data Privacy Breach (SOL-202, Burgundy Room 133).

10:40 a.m. sessions You think about your bank and your government, but what you do know about database security at the schools you or your kids have attended? (And yes, they’ve got plenty of your data. Think how your alumni-giving fund manages to hunt you down so ruthlessly.) “Protecting Public Confidence in Databases” (DEPL-203, Burgundy Room 132) has a number of security administrators from educational institutions; it should be worth checking out for a fresh perspective. Elsewhere, lawyers and security architects will shield their eyes as “Vulnerability Reporting and Full Disclosure: The Naked Truth” (LAW-203, Burgundy Room 131) is revealed. And Black Hat founder Jeff Moss is among the panel gathering for “Corporate Crimeware” (HT1-203, Green Room 102), which will dissect the current and future threats that really matter to corporate installations.

12:30 p.m. sessions A respite from the tyranny of choice is, ironically, all about choice. VerifiedVoti

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