BSides Lancashire returns to Lancaster University

Delegates listening to the opening keynote speaker at BSides Lancashire

BSides Lancashire was recently held at Lancaster University and brought together a community of cyber professionals, hobbyists and enthusiasts for a day of knowledge sharing, networking and ideas sharing.

BSides events are inclusive, grassroots environments which aim to provide an alternative to the more traditional business-led conferences. They are designed to be innovative, provoke and stimulate ideas, and bring together a diverse audience across sectors and backgrounds.

With Lancaster University’s highly regarded reputation for excellence in cyber education and research and with excellent on-campus facilities, the BSides organisers brought the event back to the University for the second year running. The community-driven and curated event brought together over 250 attendees on the day.

This year’s event focused on showcasing technical research, inclusion, diversity, and personal development within the cyber field. The event programme comprised of keynote sessions, technical tracks and workshops where delegates heard from expert speakers across a range of sectors and roles. Career progression was a key focus of the event with career workshops and drop-in sessions delivered by industry leading experts. This gave delegates the opportunity to discuss the wide range of careers within cyber and computer science. The event programme was complemented by an interactive village and a vendor space where attendees could network and meet representatives from key cyber organisations.

Professor Dan Prince is a Professor of Cyber Security at Lancaster University and is a Co-Founder of BSides Lancashire. He said: “Seeing BSides Lancashire go from strength to strength is incredibly rewarding. Hosting the event at Lancaster University’s campus demonstrates our support to the North West cyber community and to building an incredible eco-system of educators, businesses, enthusiasts and future leaders. BSides is a unique event which brings people together, from those with a general interest in cyber to seasoned professionals leading the way in cyber. It really is an opportunity for attendees to learn from each other and forge new connections.”

The opening keynote speaker on the Thunder Stage was Sarah Armstrong-Smith, Chief Security Advisor at Microsoft. Sarah is at the forefront of the cyber security industry and has led a long and impactful career guiding businesses through digital attacks and teaching organisations how to protect their people and data. Sarah shared her insights into the psychology of cyber warfare and discussed the human aspects of cyber security and how organisations can defend themselves from attacks.

The event was also an opportunity for Lancaster University experts to share their research. Professor Paul Smith from the School of Computing and Communications gave an overview of his recent research that has explored the benefits and challenges of the application of emerging digital technologies for critical infrastructures and more specifically, industrial control systems. As part of his session, he shared case studies and examined challenges and opportunities for cyber security and resilience.

In the Lightning Track, delegates attended sessions which explored topics such as cyber security in railways, pen testing, AI attacks and strategy planning for security leaders.

Finally, the Career Track provided delegates with a range of talks which gave them insights, practical tool kits, and advice to take forward in their careers.

The tracks were complemented by the delivery of four fantastic innovative hands-on workshops which gave delegates practical experience in building robots, terraform scripting, software integration and coding.

For those still garnering for more, even after such packed day, there was further opportunity for networking at the post event Cyber House Party. Held at Barker House Farm, the after party featured a Fireside Chat with Chris Roberts, a chief security information officer who advises global organisations on areas such as aerospace, deception, cryptography and AI.A pub quiz and the opportunity for further informal networking rounded off the hugely popular fringe event.

BSides Lancashire was delivered in partnership with Lancaster University. Security Lancaster supported the event as a Community Sponsor.

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