At the end of last year, I attended the BlackHoodie18 conference as a speaker. It was the fourth time the conference had been run, and the first time I had attended a technical conference since joining SophosLabs.
I chose to attend this conference because it represents more to me than just a women-only reverse engineering workshop. It was a deep and professional conference, whose purpose is not only to give us a venue to share our knowledge, but to encourage women to advance their careers in this highly technical field.
Gathered together with several women with the same interest, in one room, I really felt the effect – it worked! For women who work in the field of information security, it’s not an everyday experience to join a full room of women with an interest in such a low-level, technical topic as reverse engineering, let alone to enhance their skills in a supportive and welcoming environment.
As I was a first-time presenter, it was a perfect choice for me. I was a little bit nervous, but I got several positive comments afterwards – it was a hugely rewarding and satisfying experience. The other talks were deep and detailed — on such topics as malware analysis, forensic analysis, persistence methods, credential thefts, and bootloaders — and I found them fascinating. Since all of them were focused on reverse engineering, I really enjoyed them.
Although I enjoyed the talks, the workshops were the best of all. I studied so much cool stuff there, I can’t get enough of it! I participated in an all-day cryptography training, which was also very detailed. There were kernel debugging and return-oriented programming workshops, which involved problem-solving that also was really practical and relevant to my daily work.
Even the badges were cool! I am grateful I could participate in BlackHoodie, and would not hesitate to recommend it to any woman who works in this field.