8 Nov 2011

I have spent the past few days at the PFIC conference in Utah, it was a blast, except for the altitude which knocked me around far more than I thought it would (it was worst on the final day, and it had nothing to do with the Spaten that girlunallocated put me onto the night before, I swear). It was the fourth conference I attended this year (one of the side benefits of a cool job!) and was most certainly the friendliest of the lot. While we did not have the whale riding in a dodgy nightclub on Bourbon st, New Orleans that occurred at DFRWS we did end up with some geeks singing Karaoke, which is a pretty good sign that things have gone too far.

One thing I always wonder about at these conferences is that lack of people hanging around during the breaks, I always wonder if there is some secret hangout that I am being left out of, or does everyone just go back to their rooms? If you know please pass on the secret. While I am a pretty hardcore introvert, I try and make a point of trying to sit down with some strangers at the meals and making some new friends, it always feels like the first day at a new school, but what have you got to lose?

The best part of attending conferences is talking to others in the profession and learning about how they approach the same problems I face. At PFIC there seemed to be a lot of incident response types, rather than LE at HTCIA, academics at DFRWS and a broad mix at CEIC. Since my background is DF supporting criminal investigations it was interesting to see things from an IR perspective. A lot more dealing with live systems and less focus on court and far more on getting the job done fast.

I had fun giving a presentation on NTFS and the MFT (see the resources section for the presentation and lab materials), nothing like working in hex after lunch to put everyone to sleep!

One of the highlights for me (other than meeting a bunch of cool people) was the presentation by Greg Kipper from General Dynamics on “Cyber in the Future”. One new concept (for me) was the idea that we have moved through a series of technological super waves, each lasting for around 50 years. According to Greg we are on the downhill run of the microprocessor wave and about to launch into the nano technology/ genetic engineering stage, scary stuff indeed. Imagine injecting nanobots into your body to fight disease. Or someone developing malicious nanobots to take over your body. On the plus side we are getting more connected than ever before, which means that the demand for digital forensicators is only going to increase!