Publication date: December 6, 2018

Breaking the constants at PHDays 9

Exciting news: the slogan and topics are now out for next year's Positive Hack Days international forum on practical security. Under the banner of "Breaking the constant" speakers and contests at PHDays 9 will situate information security in the wider context of the relationship between society and technology. The event will bring hackers, security experts, and IT specialists together with those from fields not traditionally associated with digital security, including medicine, policymaking, and neurotechnology.

What are the constants?

Constants rule the world. Any event, from birth of a snowflake to exchange rate fluctuations, can be described with the help of unchanging numbers such as pi, the gravitational constant, and the golden ratio. We now live in a digital world where virtually all human activities depend on information technologies. Our digital world is subject to its own constants. Cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things all seem unshakable, if not inevitable.

But if constants rule the world, who rules the constants? Can we take them for granted? What if they are broken by something—or someone?

At PHDays 9, we are going to take a peek at the butterfly effect in today's age. By rethinking widespread assumptions, we can start imagining what might happen if these constants crumble.

Boris Simis, Deputy CEO at Positive Technologies, said: "Government, business, and individuals live in a digital world. No longer is technology something that concerns 'computer people' only. The purpose of PHDays 9 is to help governments, businesses, IT, and security experts take a fresh look at the digital constants through the lens of information security. Discussion will include e-government, finance and banking, cyberinsurance, blockchain, energy in the digital age, cloud computing, globalization, telecoms, the information security market, relationship between business and technology, biohacking, and the future of intellect."

PHDays 9 will be distinguished by a particularly unique and wide-ranging list of topics. Keynotes, presentations, and roundtables will offer something for both security professionals and anyone interested in the impact of security on nearly every area of life. More details will become available in February.

Real world, real hands-on

Presentations at PHDays 9 will target a more diverse audience, with a balance between content intended for novices and technical experts.

Key topics will include:

  • Security of embedded systems and the IoT for homes and businesses
  • Blockchain flaws and vulnerabilities
  • Telecom security
  • Security of smart homes and video surveillance/CCTV
  • Security of financial technologies and tools
  • Security of web and business applications
  • Reverse engineering
  • Applied cryptography
  • Machine learning
  • Malware and exploit development
  • Targeted attacks and hardware backdoors
  • Secure development and automation of protection tools

Contests are at the heart of PHDays 9. Timur Yunusov, member of the PHDays organizing committee, explained: "At PHDays 9, we are making a special effort to encourage a wider range of participants to compete. Besides competitors who prepare well in advance, we also want to inspire spur-of-the-moment participation by ordinary forum visitors. This is why most contests will be in workshop format: every few hours, visitors can come up and get an explanation of the basic principles, enough to complete at least a trivial task. Learning by doing will help participants to quickly grasp the subject and apply knowledge in practice. As always though, our classic hardcore hacking contests will be back in full force."

Contest workshops will vary in complexity and subject matter, including industrial and financial systems, home and industrial IoT, smart cars and devices, reverse engineering, radio and hardware, and cryptography.

For many, The Standoff is the highlight of PHDays. This intense badguys-versus-goodguys cyberbattle will be the centerpiece of the contests, just as in past years. More about The Standoff will come later, so stay tuned!

PHDays 9 will be held on May 21–22, 2019, in Moscow at the Crocus Expo International Exhibition Center. Tickets will go on sale in December.

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