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5 Things Not to Miss at SANS Cyber Defense Initiative 2019

Plan your week so that you don't miss the highlights.

Roughly 1,000 cybersecurity professionals will descend on Washington D.C. this week, ready to immerse themselves in a week full of cybersecurity learning.

If you're among those attending, you're likely coming to reinforce your knowledge and expand your cybersecurity skill set by taking one of the 40+ hands-on training courses offered at the event. But as the old saying goes, "Come for SANS cybersecurity training? stay for the countless networking opportunities, scores of special events and receptions, eight unique SANS@Night talks, expert keynote, multiple innovative vendor solution presentations, eight different Lunch & Learns, an inspiring Missing Persons Capture the Flag challenge (#OSINTForGood) stretching across two nights, two special Core NetWars Tournament 6 events, and a plentiful supply of coffee." Or, I think that's how the saying goes, at least.

With so much going on, take a few minutes to read our list of the top five things not to miss this week. A little preparation and you'll be all set to get the most out of the week ahead.

OSINT Missing Persons CTF

This capture-the-flag (CTF) contest will give SANS training students the chance to work together in teams to assist local law enforcement and find real-life missing persons. If you've been looking for an opportunity to put your skills toward good, this is the contest for you.

For this inaugural event, SANS teamed up with Trace Labs, who provides crowd-sourced, Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) capture-the-flag events for actual missing persons. While a typical SANS CTF would be of a technical nature with flags hidden within pre-configured servers that contestants obtain via hacking techniques, the Missing Persons CTF differs by having different flag categories based on pieces of information that law enforcement would look to gather to aid in a missing persons cases.

Attendance at this special experience is limited to the first 75 students who register, so sign up now. The Missing Persons CTF takes place Friday and Saturday at 6:30 PM. No prior experience in OSINT or CTFs is required to participate; if you can Google, you can succeed in this event and make a difference. #OSINTForGood

Thursday Night Keynote

At 7:15 PM on Thursday, December 12, get ready to perform some Windows exploratory surgery with SANS Institute Fellow and SEC505 author Jason Fossen. He'll take you along with him as he rummages around inside the guts of Windows, using a free tool called Process Hacker to find malware. Students are invited to bring their laptops with them so they can play along. This interactive keynote will prepare attendees for several of the courses at the conference by presenting key OS concepts like security access tokens, modules, sessions, DPCs, and more.

Women's CONNECT Reception

SANS is committed to supporting women in cybersecurity through several initiatives. At CDI 2019, we'll be hosting our Women's CONNECT reception — open to all, regardless of gender. On Friday, December 13, at 6:15 PM, come learn about SANS programs aimed at supporting women in this industry and network with your peers. Who knows, you could walk away with a new mentor!

NetWars Tournament of Champions

SANS will be hosting two special Core NetWars Tournament 6 events this year at CDI. The SANS Core NetWars Tournament of Champions is our annual celebration of the top-scoring players that pits the top five individual players and teams from 2018 and 2019 against one another. There will be a reception for all invitees on Sunday, December 15 from 4:30-6:00 PM, where guests can network with champions, build their team, and meet instructors over some bites and drinks. Don't miss getting this year's NetWars Tournament of Champions Polo Shirt!

Vendor Solutions Expo

While we know you will get tons of value from your SANS cybersecurity training, we want to encourage you to explore some of the best security solutions available at our Vendor Solutions Expo, taking place Friday, December 13, from 12:00-1:30 PM and 5:15-6:15 PM. This is a great opportunity to interact with the people behind the products and learn more about what these solutions from our vendor partners can offer you and your organization. Plus, you can attend special presentations from some of our sponsors on Thursday and Saturday of the event.

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