The Mandiant (a FireEye Company) MIRcon conference has came and went. The conference was held October 5 through October 8 in Washington D.C.’s Woodley Park District. The absolutely beautiful and on The National Historic Registry The Omni Shoreham Hotel was the conference venue, it was right next-door to The National Zoo.
The conference consisted of two training session tracks over the weekend, starting on Sunday, 5 October 2014. The two tracks were Malware Analysis and Incident Response training. It lasted for two days until the official briefings started on Tuesday 7 October, 2014. The briefing sessions broke down into three tracks; Incident Response (IR), Research and Development (R&D) and finally the cyber-security management track (management). As I traversed the different briefings, I found myself more focused on the Research and Development side of the briefings.
There were also three very significantly known keynote speakers at the MIRcon conference, such as Mr. Kevin Mandia himself who is the former owner and founder of The Mandiant Company which is now owned and operated by Fire Eye (a malware detection and prevention company), General Keith R. Alexander (Ret.) (Former U.S. CYBERCOM and NSA Director), and finally as a keynote speaker they had Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson the director of The New York City Hayden Planetarium and the host of the hot new science show on the astronomy and the universe called Cosmos.
The opening remarks were made by no other than Mr. Kevin Mandia who had started the Mandiant Company performing malware analysis and distributing proprietary tools to assist corporations and government agencies with incident response. The Mandiant Company got its start by isolating, containing and investigating the delivery of unfortunate malware breaches across the U.S. and abroad.
Mr. Mandia addressed the audience first as a keynote speaker to get the conference kicked off in grand fashion. He spoke of past and the future of cyber threats that this country and its organizations will face in the future of cyberspace and how the audience should be forever vigilant and prepared for cyber-security incident response.
There were several briefing sessions to choose from in the R&D track. Just to name a few of the sessions were advanced packet analysis, using nPulse and nSpector tools. The advance analysis and metadata analysis of phishing e-mail using custom software embedded code of one of the presenters that works at phishme.com. He uses a combination of a cyber tool called Yara rules to perform the analysis. You can find his code and Yara set of rules on github. However, one of the briefing sessions that I had attended was in the management track; called “Journalists on Cyber-security”. The journalists were part of a larger panel hosted by Mr. Schwartz. at the front of the room, which consisted of the reporting lead cyber journalists from The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Tech Crunch. They discussed all of the hot topics that had occurred in just this past year, including one of the leading stories on the recent JP Morgan Bank breach.
Besides, the briefings I had attended the keynote speakers addresses to the audience. Other notable keynote speakers were General Keith Alexander and Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. General Alexander briefly discussed the cyber-threats that our country as a whole is facing and will be facing in the future. He briefly mentioned that there are approximately 3.5 zeta-bytes of data that is communicated over the Internet on a daily basis. It is more data moving across our servers today, than data that we have had processed over the entire course of United States history in the 19th and 20th centuries combined.
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is a very motivational speaker was the last keynote speaker during the conference. He used science to entice the audience and to present examples to stimulate the brain in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, (STEM) subjects. One of the highlights of Dr. Tyson’s lectures was the discussion of the former planet known as Pluto and how he was receiving hate mail from 3rd graders. He actually got the copyright and printed one of the third grader’s letters in his book that is currently available named “The Pluto Files; America’s Favorite Planet.”
The conference was truly a great experience and I learned a tremendous amount that will definitely attribute to my on-going profession within cyber-security. I hope that some of the data shared in the wrap-up of The MIRcon conference in Washington, D.C. was a benefit to you and your endeavors in cyber-space.
Check out the picture to the event here!