Things I Hearted this Week – the RSA 2018 Edition

April 20, 2018  |  Javvad Malik

It’s RSA week! A week where security professionals from far and wide travel to San Francisco to attend not only RSA conference, but the number of other events around it. Whatever the flavour, there’s usually something for everyone.

I didn’t make the pilgrimage this year, opting for a low-key vacation with the family during the Easter break. So, this week, most of the updates are viewed through the lens of attending a conference remotely.


RSA is the melting pot for diverse groups to converge. It’s not just a security conference. It is an ecosystem that breeds many micro-conferences, each catering to specific audiences. While many observations can be made about the size of the vendor hall, it would be an over-simplification to say RSA is just a vendor-conference.

There are investors looking to see where money should go, industry analysts get a good idea of which direction trends are heading, professionals share ideas and network, recruiters find out who is hiring, and who is looking.

It’s also the time of year for which many vendors save their biggest announcements, be those new product lines, features, or mergers and acquisitions.

AlienVault announced its new free threat hunting service, OTX Endpoint Threat Hunter™.

It’s a free threat-scanning service in Open Threat Exchange that allows you to detect malware and other threats on your critical endpoints using OTX threat intelligence. This means that you can now harness the world’s largest open threat intelligence community to assess your endpoints against real-world attacks on demand or as new attacks appear in the wild.


Apparently, BSides San Francisco was held in a movie theatre and the talks were given in front of an IMAX screen. All I’m saying is I hope that more conferences do that – the opportunities to take advantage of such a setup are amazing.

A bit of trivia is that apparently IMAX is a Canadian invention


It looked to be a good event, as is to be expected from an established BSides, with a number of talks getting some social media love.

@KingmanInk is a fantastic illustrator, and was at hand to create posters of talks in real-time. The collection of all the posters can be found on this twitter thread.


One of the new events this year at RSA was Our Security Advocates, OURSA. A single-track, one-day conference that focussed on diverse experts to present.

Regardless of your views on diversity, there is no question that there were some stellar talks, and all are available to view on the live stream.

  • OURSA Live stream | YouTube
  • OURSA Agenda | oursa.org

How to prepare for an infosec interview

Hopefully many people have made the most of their networking at RSA and lined up some interviews. Here’s a good post by Timothy De Block from a couple of weeks ago with tips on preparing for an infosec interview.

Netflix open sources Titus

Netflix has announced it is open-sourcing its container management platform Titus.

Over the last three years, Titus evolved initially from supporting batch use cases, to running services applications (both internal, and ultimately critical customer-facing). Through that evolution, container use at Netflix has grown from thousands of containers launched per week to as many as three million containers launched per week in April 2018. Titus hosts thousands of applications globally over seven regionally isolated stacks across tens of thousands of EC2 virtual machines. The open-sourcing of Titus shares the resulting technology assembled through three years of production learnings in container management and execution.

Titus allows us to quickly and nimbly add features that are valuable as our needs evolve, and as we grow to support new use-cases. We always try to maintain a philosophy of “just enough” vs “just in case” with the goal of keeping things as simple and maintainable as possible.

How deep does the rabbit hole go?

A little-known data firm was able to build 48 million personal profiles, combining data from sites and social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Zillow, among others -- without the users' knowledge or consent.

Localblox, a Bellevue, Wash.-based firm, says it "automatically crawls, discovers, extracts, indexes, maps and augments data in a variety of formats from the web and from exchange networks." Since its founding in 2010, the company has focused its collection on publicly accessible data sources, like social networks Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and real estate site Zillow to name a few, to produce profiles.

Something different

I’ll end with this article on why so many tech companies’ logos look the same. It’s a really interesting piece with some insights into what makes a tech brand.


“People at the head of these powerful digital brands, as any strong brand, know very well they are not defined by their logo anymore but by the product or service they provide. They are strong, thanks to what they allow you to do with them. Before, logo designers would look for a ‘concept’ when designing a logo. That is obviously not needed anymore: The brand is the concept. Their logos may look similar, but what they offer is totally different and effective, and that’s what finally counts for the consumer. They are 100% recognizable.

Post-credit teaser

I know I said the previous article was the last one, but I have been reliably informed by my colleague and editor of our AlienVault blog, Kate Brew that I won the security bloggers award for the most entertaining blog.

So far this tweet is the only evidence I’ve seen of it – so I’m honoured and grateful… unless this was a prank, in which case, well played.

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