We’re bringing you a short series of blogs about the upcoming InforWarCon, an invitational cyber training congress, that brings together an elite group of “political, military, academic, DIYer, and commercial cyber-leaders and thinkers from around the world.” InfowarCon (IWC) prides itself on being one of the only conferences where “a deputy secretary, a professor, a college intern, and a member of a think tank are able to sit down and exchange ideas” about the future of cyberwar, technology, information warfare, and related policy. InfowarCon was founded in 1994 by SAC’s founder, Winn Schwartau, and has since transferred hands to the combined leadership of Travis Hartman, William Kimble, and James Wright. You can learn more about the conference, which is taking place in Leesburg, VA Nov 1-3, 2018, by visiting the main site https://infowarcon.com/.

Today’s blog is an interview with William Kimble, President/CEO Cyber Defense Technologies, and will provide you some behind-the-scenes information about this conference. So dive in!

 

How did you get into the infosec industry and how did that lead to your involvement with IWC?

I joined the United States Marine Corps in 2000. Completely by accident, I ended up in a Signals Intelligence MOS (Military Occupational Specialty). We used similar tactics, techniques, and procedures to what the InfoSec community utilizes for hacking. Upon leaving the Marine Corps., by luck I again fell into a security job. Instead of the attack side, it was based more on the protection side. Also, it was IP-based instead of RF. From that position, I moved on to many others until starting Cyber Defense Technologies. Throughout those years I ran into Dave Kennedy at DerbyCon and fell in love with the InfoSec Conference family. Several years later Travis asked if I wanted to help him continue the legacy of IWC and, without any hesitation, I agreed. I loved the concept of IWC and its ability to push the edges of what we know as InfoSec.

 

What is the goal of IWC, short-term and long-term?

My goal is focused on the content and the speakers. I want this conference to continue as Winn intended it. Throughout the years of IWC, the speakers have brought very innovative and provocative talks to the attendees. I want to keep that going. The InfoSec industries’ practices change frequently and having the best presenters who are on top of that every day will allow our attendees to stay up to date and get the best value for their ticket.

Regarding a long-term goal, I want to have multiple IWC’s as Winn once did (US, Europe, and other regions across the globe) while keeping each conference small and intimate. While I love and still attend the yearly “larger” conferences, I feel you learn more from the smart people in the room when you can access them.

 

If you had a No. 1 reason why people should attend, what would it be?

Attend for the access to “the smart people in the room”. IWC has always had the small conference appeal for me. At the larger conferences they may be in a completely different room halfway across two casinos and surrounded by hundreds of people. IWC brings your senior InfoSec folks, your friends, up close and personal where you can actually converse with them, drink with them, and learn from them (or teach them).

 

What can attendees expect to get out of IWC?

To gather information on specific topics that might not be covered at other conferences. We, as Winn intended, allow our speakers to discuss things across a range of topics. The topics we are looking for in our call for papers are topics that push the boundary, that are proactive, and that resonate towards pushing our industry forward.

 

At one point IWC was very specialized and attended by only by 50 people. What led to changing the event into something more robust?

This is something we spoke about in depth. While we don’t want to have too many attendees so that the proximity to the speakers and attendees suffers, we wanted enough that allowed for a good amount of group interaction, and an amount that could bring great ideas to all in attendance regardless if they are a speaker or an attendee.

 

What type of audience do you hope to attract to IWC?

The InfoSec community (in the essence of its job), has a large hurdle ahead. My goal is to have a combination of attendees and speakers who want to make it over that hurdle.

 

What advantages do vendors and sponsors have with IWC compared to other conferences?

IWC provides a small and intimate location that is secluded from the hustle and bustle of the conferences hosted in the larger cities. An attendee, staff member, or speaker, will literally have a close connection to all in attendance through the entire conference.

 

Any final thoughts?

Start with the basics. We have a lot of work to do in the InfoSec community and many folks are jumping ahead to the advanced areas without learning the basics. Learn the basics of Networking, of Coding, of System Administration, before jumping into how to break it. Always keep that mindset of breaking things, but first understand how it works. Too often, a breach occurs because the enterprise was not doing the basic things. Fundamentals of any industry never go away, the same applies to InfoSec.

WIlliam Kimble

William began his professional career in the defense and intelligence community, serving as a radio reconnaissance marine for the Radio Reconnaissance Company, 1st Radio Battalion Marine Corps Base Hawaii. During his enlistment he was heavily trained in surveillance and reconnaissance skills in addition to receiving training in signals collection and electronic attack. William and his reconnaissance team served aboard the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and completed several successful reconnaissance and surveillance missions in the CENTCOM theatre during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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