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PHDays VI: Moving to Direct Confrontation

  • November 10, 2015

    The sixth Positive Hack Days forum on practical information security will take place at the Moscow World Trade Center on May 17 and 18, 2016. PHDays is a forum for security experts from across the globe to meet up and offers both researchers and students the opportunity to: hack mobile networks, derail trains, shut down the electricity grid, break into an ATM with a paper clip—and learn about the type of protection available to counteract these threats.

    As usual, the forum will have a key theme, which for PHDays VI will be the concept of confrontation. In 2016, business and government representatives to show hackers the power of resistance. One side will attack and the other defend. Who will win this two-day war? We will have to wait until PHDays VI to find out.

    Who’s attacking who

    Year after year PHDays have brought together various groups from the information security community: hackers and information security experts, government officials, those who value personal freedom, IT-business and law enforcement personnel—always around the theme of security. However, there has been a shift in the security world and today we see more and more often conflict between these groups, those on one side of the barricade have only a view from their side and cannot see the whole picture.

    This year, at PHDays VI, we are moving from a competition based around solving tasks to a two-sided practical game: hacker teams vs. SOC, cryptographers vs. reverse engineers, competitive intelligence specialists vs. DLP systems, developers of protection tools vs. targeted attacks.

    Speakers at PHDays VI will demonstrate the most critical threats and protection methods we are dealing with today and not just some scaremongering stories on vulnerability exploitation possibilities because what we really want and need to know is how the industry will respond to a specific threat.

    An airplane, tank or ship?

    We are designing a new PHDays program based on its basic principles: an ongoing search for unknown areas, live video broadcasting of speakers and panelists, no commercials, online training, unique set-ups, informal discussions, security incidents.

    The program will include tens of reports and hands-on labs, sessions and round tables, CTF contests, the Young School competition, and a cyberpunk short story contest.

    PHDays will have a completely new competition program offering new devices and loads of chill out space for hacking.

    A six-fold increase in number

    PHDays is becoming more popular year on year.

    PHDays is becoming more popular year on year. Just compare — the forum gathered 600 specialists in 2011, then 1,500 in 2012, more than 2,000 in 2013, and 2,500 in 2014. 3,500 attendees visited the forum in 2015.

    The forum included hundreds of reports, sessions and activities. The forum featured John Bambenek, Whitfield Diffie (via teleconference), Chris Hadnagy, Kevin Williams, Natalya Kasperskaya, Alexey Lukatsky, Dmitry Finogenov (FSB department #8), Alexander Radovitsky (RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Alexander Baranov (Federal Tax Service), Vadim Dengin, Andrey Tumanov and Ilya Kostunov (deputies of the State Duma), senior executives of the Bank of Russia and representatives of big business. Managing partners of Almaz Capital sponsored a startup competition with prize money of 1.5 million rubles. Contests involved hacking missiles, electrical substations, ATMs, and railways.


    Over the past five years, PHDays has been the recipient of several awards and many kind words. The forum hosted such iconic figures of the information security community as Bruce Schneier (the author of Applied Cryptography), Marc Heuse (the founder of the security research group he Hacker’s Choice, the creator of Hydra, Amap, THC-IPV6), Karsten Nohl (one of the most famous specialists in GSM security), Donato Ferrante and Luigi Auriemma (Italian specialists in SCADA and Smart TV), Alexander Peslyak (known as Solar Designer, the creator of the password cracking tool John the Ripper), Whitfield Diffie (the advisor for Almaz Capital, the father of digital signatures and asymmetric encryption), Datuk Mohd Noor Amin (Chairman of IMPACT), William Hagestad (a military expert in cyber-intelligence). Last year, PHDays became the only cyber security conference held in Russia to be listed among the largest information security meetings, according to Concise Courses, the web’s most respected cyber security conference list.

    Experts on PHDays

    Bruce Schneier, Cryptography Expert, Chief Security Technology Officer at British Telecom:

    “We have been organizing security conferences for more than ten years. The majority of them are boring corporate events. However, this conference is something completely different. It not only inspires, it is very practical and quite counter-cultural.”

    Ilya Kostunov, a member of the Safety Committee and Corruption Counteraction Committee of the State Duma:

    “I’ve heard several reports at Positive Hack Days, and statistics have shocked me. I’m planning to intensify a draft bill on the protection of critical infrastructure.”

    Alexander Galitsky, Managing Partner at Almaz Capital:

    “Positive Technologies created the best information security conference in Russia. It is a relaxed and informal meeting place, and the central characters are not public authorities but security experts and developers.”

    Ruslan Gattarov, the member of the Council of the Federation Committee on Science, Education, Culture and Information Policy:

    “Our colleagues from foreign countries pump money into the information security industry, create cyberweapons, and increase the number of ‘cyber soldiers’ by ten times.”

    William Hagestad II, an expert in cyber-intelligence and counter-intelligence:

    “It is a unique event, where we can see how information security is created and find out who’s who in the area. The forum is notable due to its realistic contests, such as CTF, Critical Infrastructure Attack and the contest where participants are working on hacking the ‘smart home’.”

    Natalya Kasperskaya, CEO of InfoWatch:

    “I am struck by the scale of the event: I read how many attendees were expected, but the reality exceeded all my expectations.”

    Datuk Mohd Noor Amin, Head of IMPACT (United Nations):

    “Modern cyber threats are not only spam or fraud, but also graver risks with people’s lives at stake.”

    Keving Williams, General Manager of Team Cymru — UK Internet Security:

    “Here Russian private companies, public organizations, and government are trying to find a solution to the common problems. This is really interesting.”

    More information: Check out reports from previous meetings on YouTube.

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