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BlackHat | DefCon 2014 – The SecBarbie Backup Buddies are BACK!

July 25, 2014


We started this last year due to the great deal of attention paid to the treatment and incidents involving females at conferences. Instead of just addressing problems after the fact or talking about it, this was my attempted answer to speaking to potential issues and offering at least somewhat of a solution, and I’m SO THRILLED to say that many of my friends jumped onboard to help as well to be the ‘eyes’ and ‘ears’ for anyone who needed a hand.

I truly love this community and the amazing experience that the conferences can be, and we all want to do our part to ensuring everyone (from industry to journalists and everyone in-between) has the most positive experience that they can. For the 2014 week of BlackHat + DEFCON,  a bunch of us are offering up our time and efforts to help. If you or someone you know, especially (but not only) female, who is new to the conferences or might need a friendly hand, give them this number:


This has been setup to contact me via voice and text during the conference so if I’m not close by, I can pass it on to one of our trusted ‘Buddies’ that is close to the area to help assist people who find themselves uncomfortable, need a friend to talk to about something that happened, are in a situation that is turning bad that need some assistance, or need some first-time attendee guidance. Anyone who reaches out will have their information kept confidential and not shared unless the individual wishes for someone to speak on their behalf.

This number is not:

  • A party-info line. I can’t get you into parties.
  • A general conference information line. Google and conference staffs are there for you for general info.
  • A phishing expedition.
  • 1-900-CHATROOM.
  • “I just wanted to see what’s up”

This number is for situations such as:

  • I need help with or someone to talk to in confidence about an inappropriate situation that is developing or has occurred.
  • It’s my first conference and I feel absolutely alone or am having an absolutely horrid experience.

This line was a positive experience last year, let’s keep the option open for those who may need it. Please don’t be “that guy/girl” who abuses the number or thinks it’s funny to crank call. Go crank call rooms at the Rio instead 😉 .

If you are trusting, friendly, and want to help others, send an email to backups at


Gender Issues

It all started with a Pillow Fight….

February 9, 2012


At least the friendships did, and through the conversations over on the BSides threads that have been going on for sometime now, the direction has changed to history. Even though there has been much controversy around BSides, it is time that it moves forward with the ideas and principles that it was set out with. One of the ideas of BSides was being the opportunity to get talks/presentations to the public that the “big-box” conferences would never accept.

In 2009 for DefCon 17 a group of us girls (Ladies, Women, whatever makes you happy to be called… I prefer girls in this context) were planning a “Sec-y Pillowfight” to support EFF. What a mess this became as it brought into question how we view females and especially how females are treated and viewed in the InfoSec field. It was because of the first BSidesLV being planned that the idea of a panel discussion (Feathers will fly Panel! – Professional Image and Gender Issues for Women in Security) about the Pillowfight and the gender issues around it came to be. I knew a few of the people already that were going to be on the panel, like Jennifer Jabbusch @jjx and Stacy Thayer @StacyThayer,  but it was because of the collaboration that I became friends with four other incredible women in information security (Leigh HoneywellLeigh HollowellNicolle Neulist, and Magen Hughes)! The idea sharing and discussions have lasted far past the first panel, and well into today.

This is what SecurityBSides is to me. SecurityBSides is an opportunity to share ideas, have open dialogue with presenters during presentations, bring about new ideas, and foster lifelong friendships (professional and otherwise).

The idea of BSides will live far beyond the brand because the entire community is what creates the heartbeat of BSides. Yet, I would prefer the brand heal, as it is very special to a lot of us.