My year in Infosec

I decided to write a short recap of my Infosec 2018 and my plans for 2019. I hope that when I look back at it next year I realized what I have planned ;).

In 2018 I got more and more immersed into the world of Infosec. I have the feeling that my AppSec knowledge improved, which is most important as it is my passion and my daytime job. If you want to know how I try to stay up-to-date read this post, in which I describe which learning resources I use.

Also my broader Infosec knowledge has improved. For a big part thanks to being active on Twitter. It not only brought me knowledge and insights but also connections with awesome people. Some of them, like for instance Jelena Milosevic and Victor Gevers I met in real life.

I met them at the Hack In The Box (HITB) Amsterdam conference and Jelena introduced me to other awesome Infosec people. I experienced first hand how nice the atmosphere in the hacker community is. It was an overall great experience, if you ever have a chance to go to a HITB conference don’t hesitate. Read about my experience here and here.

Another great meet was at the Infosecurity Belgium conference in Brussels with Per Thorsheim. He’s a passwords guru and a very nice guy, which is equally, if not more, important.

And that brings me seamlessly to another highlight of this year. The Beerfarmers! The Beerfarmers you say? Here you can read what The Beerfarmers are about. But let me tell you a bit about how it started. A certain Appsecbloke (Mike Thompson) and I were in a Twitter conversation with Troy Hunt about starting to blog and we started to follow each other. I already followed Sean Wright and the 3 of us obviously shared some interests and we were often in the same conversations. And then I connected with Ian Thornton-Trump and again I noticed the same pattern. Not only Infosec, but our shared sense of humor and our mutual dislike of the ongoing drama and Infosec Rockstar behavior is what brought the Beerfarmers together. A few months later Andy Gill also became part of the ‘band’. Our ‘fanbase’ is growing and our first gig is planned. This makes me happy and shows that more people think we shouldn’t take ourselves too serious from time to time ;).

I also regularly blogged in 2018. It was pleasant to notice that some of my blogs did really well. I continued blogging on Medium and on Peerlyst and started to do some guest blogs for TotalAV.

Plans for 2019

  • The beerfarmers are “performing” at Bsides Leeds. Still not sure if I can make it to Leeds, let’s hope so.
  • Also pretty thrilled that I’ll attend SecAppDev in Leuven for the first time. This is a AppSec conference that’s been on my to-do list for several years.
  • I would like to create a presentation and send in some CFPs for security conferences.
  • Be a bit more consistent at blogging. I started off 2018 pretty good, but the last few months of the year I didn’t write any blogs.
  • Try to meet more Infosec people, that I only know from Twitter, in real life.
  • Structure the way I learn a bit more. This year I often jumped from topic to topic, because it all seemed interesting. I need to plan which areas of Infosec I further want to learn about and focus on these.
  • Living healthier. I felt a bit flat at the end of the year and I’ve given this a bit of thought recently. I should really exercise more regularly. Yes i’ve put on too much weight this year because the Infosec vs. sports balance wasn’t right. I need to (and will!) address this. Also part of the plan: drinking less coffee and more water and going to bed earlier. I will also try to disconnect from Infosec more often and put these damn devices off earlier at night!

I hope I can realize my plans in 2019. I wish you a Happy New Year and I hope you can make your dreams and plans come true in 2019, whatever they may be.

John Opdenakker

John Opdenakker

Blogger | #Infosec | #AppSec | Security awareness | Occasional Public Speaker | Cycling | Running | Enjoying life