The global hacking community is growing at a rapid pace and a vibrant, innovative, and engaged population of ethical hackers is emerging as a result. It wasn't so long ago that hacking was synonymous with criminal behavior, but a lot has changed in the last five years or so.
Now hackers are widely understood to be security professionals tasked with outwitting cybercriminals, leading the way to a safer future for everyone. Hacking is now a legitimate job with a well-defined role within our society.
This critical shift in hacker perception has been key to advancing the security field as more and more companies engage with ethical hackers to help bolster their security. Organizations now understand that it's better to have your system broken by someone you can trust, than someone you can't.
More broadly though, this shift has allowed more flexibility and opportunity for people with a hacking mindset. The field of IT has been around for a few decades, and while it has changed significantly over time, it's always suffered from a high barrier to entry. Many positions require a stringent set of qualifications or education that makes many jobs inaccessible for large portions of society who don't have the same opportunities as those more privileged than them.
Hacking is the exception here. Ethical hacking is a relatively new field which means there's an element of "wild-west" progression. There are few required qualifications, if any. As long as you have the skills to hack, you can work as a bug bounty hunter, and this has made the profession accessible to people all over the world who have a computer and an internet connection.
Hacking conferences are partly responsible for this shift. Hacking conferences are held all over the world and bring together hackers to discuss the latest developments in the industry. They allow hackers to network, learn new disciplines and tools, expand their knowledge, and meet like-minded people. All of this serves to strengthen the hacking community.
Hacking Conferences in Brazil
Whether you're an established hacker in Brazil, or an aspiring hacker yearning to learn the ropes, attending hacking conferences is a must.
Roadsec is a hacking, technology, and cybersecurity conference, and is the biggest one in all of Latin America. The conference is coming to São Paulo on 23 November and hosts a huge number of international speakers who are experts in their field.
Roadsec is accessible to hackers of all levels because of their distinct focus on budding hackers. There's also a wide range of topics covered, content, and additional fun activities to take part in separate to the talks. A great conference all round! roadsec.com.br
H2HC (Hackers to Hackers Conference)
This is the most traditional and respected hacker conference in Brazil, held every year in São Paulo. It consists of two days of talks and workshops. The content is extremely technical in nature. https://www.h2hc.com.br
You Shot The Sheriff
This is another São Paulo conference, and another technical one. This conference is more appropriate for hackers who already have a solid foundation of hacking and have some real experience under their belt. https://www.ysts.org/
The last big one in São Paulo is the Brazilian version of BSides, driven by community and therefore mixing tech and excellent beginner content: http://sp16.securitybsides.com.br
This conference is held in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and is two days filled with hacking-related talks and content. https://bhack.com.br
Nullbyte is held in Salvador, the capital of the Bahia state in Brazil. The aim is to encourage the dissemination and exchange of knowledge about hacking and information security in Bahia. They cover web exploitation, penetration testing, reverse engineering, and more. https://www.nullbyte-con.org)
Latinoware is held in Foz do Iguacu, Paraná, Brazil and is focused around free and open-source software. The conference is relatively broad and covers many areas of tech, cybersecurity being one of them. There are talks, short courses, and other fun things to take part in. https://2019.latinoware.org
You may have noticed the biggest conferences are always in São Paulo. This is because it's the biggest city in the country and therefore attracts the most hacking enthusiasts.
If you live in São Paulo, it's also an excellent idea to join some local hacking groups and meetups. You can connect with lots of hackers if you hang at the local Hacker-Space called Garoa Hacker Clube, where they host meetings, classes, and workshops: https://garoa.net.br/wiki/Página_principal
Outside of São Paulo, you can easily find tech events in Rio, and hacker clubs and events in cities all over Brazil - just get Googling for your local ones.
Marina Ciavatta, On Why You Should Attend Hacking Conferences!
What do you think the participants get out of the conferences?
Hacking conferences are an important pursuit for every hacker who wants to expand their knowledge, not just about what is happening in their community, but in the field as a whole.
The most exclusive and secret conferences often offer hackers an insight into tightly guarded and groundbreaking new hacking methods. The bigger ones are perfect for knowing who else likes the same things that you do, what they are doing, who is new, who is already established, and so on. It's essential for your development, in my opinion.
Of course, it has nothing to do directly with your hacking skills, you can do your studying and work just sitting at home, but to be part of a conference is to be part of a community, a live chain sharing knowledge.
How does attending hacking conferences further personal development?
Since working for the biggest hacking and tech conference in Latin America, I have been asked this question many times. Roadsec is popular with beginners and those exploring whether hacking is a good fit for them, so naturally, the question arises frequently.
I'm not a technical person by nature, so I understand first hand how overwhelming some conferences can be. It's easy to feel lost when you're first starting out - It can often feel like you're drowning in a sea of Infosec acronyms and tech-speak. However, conferences all you to see many different sides to the hacking field and community.
Each speaker offers a unique perspective and content. This means you can get a broad insight into the field, and determine what interests you, and what doesn't. You can be part of workshops where you can learn new skills. You can be a volunteer or even enroll in the conference production.
You can get to know local hacker clubs and communities from all around. You can talk to a lot of people who have varying degrees of experience in hacking and infosec or you can just hang, have a drink, socialize, and meet new friends. There is no such thing as going to a hacker conference and not learning something new and exciting about hacking.
Is there potential for networking?
Oh, so much! The organizers, the volunteers, the speakers, the workshop instructors, the sponsors and vendors, everyone has their business, and their own story to tell. You can exchange so much knowledge with everyone around you. You can follow the speakers on social media or have face to face chats with then during the conferences.
You can enlist to a hacker club to help with new projects, you can give your resume to companies for potential jobs. There is so much you can do to improve your career and expand your contacts. You should never miss an opportunity to be part of a hacker conference. There is a legacy we all take from each one of them.