Surviving and Thriving at Blackhat

Since it is that time of the year for all good security professionals to get ready to fly to Vegas I decided to put together my own “Surviving Blackhat” blog post.

Make a Friend.
Being in security is sometimes a thankless job. You are going to a place with 30,000 other professionals who do the same thing you do and know the struggle is real.

Sure, someone may try to social engineer you into you telling them your mothers maiden name but you might find a friend who does forensics that you can call at 0200 when you think you are 10 minutes away from being fired.

Have A Meal With An Important Security Partner. 
The companies that help you secure your company are at blackhat and want to hang out with you. Take advantage of it. 

Have A Meal With Some Friends (That You Pay For). 
Pick a night (I suggest Tuesday) and make plans with a group of friends to have an amazing meal somewhere in Vegas without a vendor (unless you are really friends with a vendor). 

I would suggest the Italian American Club for an affordable and amazing dinner. 

Do Not Go To Every Party! 
Seriously… there is no way to attend all of these.  Pick one or two that you really want to go to.  I would suggest the Nike Party and the RiskIQ party

Dress Like An Adult (for meetings).
Save the Black T-shirts and Flip-Flops for DEFCON.
To quote Jay-Z:

I don’t wear jersey’s. I’m 30 plus gimmie a crisp pair of jeans and a button up.


Get Swag And Give It Away. 
Pick up way more swag then you need. You have co-workers that are covering for you.  Nothing says “Thank you” like showing up on the 10th with a book bag of T-Shirts from companies you never heard of. 

Get Smart! 
90% of the smartest people in the industry are going to be within 4 miles of each other for 168 hours.  LEARN.AS.MUCH.AS.YOU.CAN.

Have Fun! 
Part of the reason you are in Vegas is to recharge your batteries and have fun. Do that. 

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