The NCSC is partnering with the Sans Institute, which has a successful track record in running cyber threat intelligence conferences in the US that typically feature key technical speakers.
The event takes place on February 27-28, 2018 at London's QEII Conference Centre.
“We were keen to bring something similar to the UK, not only to give local technicians access to top speakers, but also to help create a sense of community through interactive workshops and activities,” said Chichester.
“Another key aim of Cyberthreat 2018 is to further foster collaboration between the public and private sectors around analysing attacks, to come together to share knowledge, expertise and best practices to ultimately reduce the harm to the UK,” he said.
Contrasting Cyberthreat 2018 with the NCSC’s CyberUK annual cyber security conference, Chichester said that while that event is aimed at a broader range of topics and is a much more strategic, high-level event, this new event will sit under that to focus on particular technical strands of the overall mission.
James Lyne, head of research and development at the Sans Institute said Cyberthreat 2018 is designed to replicate the US-based technical conferences that foster the development of a technical community and give rise to new discussions and concepts.
“We want to make that easily accessible to the huge base of technical talent in the UK, and the geek in me is excited to have something of that degree of technical credibilty, with lots of hands-on exercises and talks, taking place in the UK and involving both the public and private sectors,” he said.
Hands-on events include the opportunity to work in teams to hack the conference badges, security challenge booths focusing on different areas, and a two-day team-based capture the flag competition.
This competition, said Lyne, includes technical challenges spanning a variety of disciplines to break down silos, boost understanding of how to collaborate with other specialists in cyber security, and to teach participants about techniques used by cyber adversaries.
There will also be the fairly rare opportunity, said Chichester, for attendees to get some hands-on training from the NCSC. “We are trying to do something that is fun, different, and informative,” he said.
To ensure that the conference is reaching its intended audience, the initial wave of registrations was open only to those capable of solving technical challenges, with discounts available to practitioners with the right technical skills.
“Registration is now a lot more open, but still with clear expectations in line with the type of conference and type of agenda to ensure we are reaching the right community,” said Lyne.