The end of HITB? No, it's a level-up

  • Last HITBSecConf Malaysia taking place in Oct
  • New conference GSEC to focus on Asia

The end of HITB? No, it's a level-upAFTER more than a decade being a fixture on the calendar for the world's leading security professionals and researchers, the upcoming Hack In The Box (HITB) Security Conference (HITBSecConf) taking place this October in Kuala Lumpur is being billed as the last.
Is this truly the curtain call for this Malaysia-born annual information security conference that has made its mark on the global stage?
“No, we’re still here, we’re not going anywhere!” quipped HITB founder and chief executive officer Dhillon Andrew Kannabhiran (pic) during an interview with Digital News Asia (DNA) earlier this year.
To be precise, HITB is shifting things around. The HITBSecConf brand will now call Europe its home while for Asia, a new conference brand will be introduced in 2015 and beyond: HITB GSEC.
Call it the next step in the maturation of an enterprise that began as a website, before expanding to include a conference series with a sister conference in Amsterdam, all because its founder couldn’t afford to attend Defcon and Black Hat and decided to bring the experts to him instead.
HITBSecConf featured a number of side events, such as the Capture The Flag network hacking challenge; the HackWEEKDAY 36-hour hackathon; two days of hands-on technical training workshops; and the HITB CommSec Village.
Details of the HITB GSEC event are still being finalised but one thing’s for sure, the HITB crew remains ambitious, with Dhillon sharing that the new conference will boast a new format and seek to change the way security conferences have traditionally been conducted. In addition, there are plans to take it beyond Malaysia.
“It is important to highlight and raise awareness about new developments in cyber-security and the global impact in terms of ramifications if these attacks do come true.
“Things that were once the realm of Hollywood are now quite possible and people are proving that,” said Dhillon, a DNA Digerati50.
He added that the GSEC brand has always been a part of the HITB portfolio but in the past, events conducted in this vein were very small, half-day seminars.
However, the HITB crew had always felt that it deserved to have its own conference, and with resources too limited to do both, the decision was made to go with GSEC instead.
“The timing is quite right for this move and we’re excited about sharing more details about GSEC at HITBSecConf this year,” Dhillon said.
The fruits of the crew’s shift to embracing the “bigger picture” can be seen with its ambitions for HITB Haxpo.
The Haxpo is a three-day technology, security and IT exhibition endorsed by iAmsterdam and the Amsterdam Economic Board (AMEC) for hackers, makers, builders and breakers. It runs alongside HITBSecConf.
This year, Haxpo boasted an expanded scope that included exhibitions on drones and 3D printing, demonstrating how pervasive cyber-security is in today’s world.
Dhillon said that the team is targeting a wider range of people with Haxpo, taking the best from Mobile World Congress, Maker Faire and South by Southwest.
“I know it sounds ambitious but I think there’s a gap that we can fill here as there’s enough traction between the hacker, maker, breaker and builder communities to make an event that works.
“Haxpo is focused on developments that are disrupting the state of things; it’s not just a security show but rather an innovation platform with a security overlay,” he added.
While waiting for the new 'matured' HITB to present itself come 2015, HITB fans can get their fill at the last HITBSecConf which will be taking place Oct 13-16 at the Intercontinetal Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
This year’s keynote speakers include Richard Thieme, technology commentator and founder of consulting firm ThiemeWorks; Katie Moussouris, chief policy officer of HackerOne; and Marcia Hofmann, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

It is also not too late for interested companies to participate in this year's conference and exhibition with Dhillon sharing that there is still booth space up for grabs. For more information, send an email to [email protected]
For more details about HITBSecConf, click here.

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