Ruxcon hacker conference opens arms to security pros

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Ruxcon hacker conference opens arms to security pros

Community-organised hacker conference, Ruxcon, is aiming to attract a ‘more diverse field’ of attendees to its annual event in November.

Now in its sixth year, Ruxcon is expected to bring together some 350 vulnerability enthusiasts from across Australia.

Ruxcon 2008 will be the sixth such event since its launch in 2003. Over the years, the conference has evolved from a technical, specialist event to have a broader security focus, according to conference organiser Chris Spencer.

“The focus is going to be a little more professional this time around,” Spencer told iTnews. “We want to start attracting a more diverse field of security professionals.”

“I don’t think there is much of an Australian hacking community anymore; the security industry has commercialised vulnerability research, so that there just isn’t a vibrant hacking community,” he said.

Spencer compared Ruxcon to high-profile hacker conferences such as Defcon and Black Hat in the U.S., describing Ruxcon as a hobbyist, community-driven event.

Since its inception, the conference has been organised by the same group of volunteers, all of whom have day jobs in the Australian security industry.

When not organising Ruxcon, Spencer works as a vulnerability researcher. Other organisers include consultants and security administrators.

Ruxcon 2008 will be held at the University of Technology, Sydney from 29 to 30 November, and costs $60 to attend.

Presenters hailing from Australia, New Zealand, Italy and France will discuss topics such as how Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) can be used by malware, and heap exploitation theory in Windows Vista.

Despite the vulnerabilities and methods that will be discussed at the conference, Spencer notes that Ruxcon has not encountered any resistance from vendors to date.

And previous years’ sponsorship by vendors such as Google and VeriSign’s iDefense has not impacted presentations such as ‘Google Hacking’, which will be discussed this year.

“When they [Ruxcon presenters] present on these topics, they are doing it from a research background and not a malicious standpoint,” Spencer said of the risks of revealing vulnerabilities.

“As a whole, it’s [Ruxcon] just about putting on a demonstration of the talent we have in Australia,” he said.
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