Hacktivity 2012

An IT Security Conference in the Heart of Eastern Europe

When you get the opportunity to attend a security conference located in Budapest, you jump on top of it. Hacktivity 2012 provided that opportunity for me this year, and what an excellent conference it was. If you are saying to yourself, "But I don't speak or understand any Hungarian, so why would I go to a security conference in Budapest?!", fear not, the majority of the talks were in English, and when the talk was in Hungarian, translation headphones were provided. I would highly recommend attending Hacktivity 2013 if you are considering conferences in Europe

The Conference

Held inside of the fully renovated MOM Cultural Center, the conference was visited by over 1000 attendees and was able to accommodate everyone quite comfortably. The talks were given in two separate halls, the Security Theatre and the Security Dome, which were also broadcasted to an area known as the "Leisure Center". Several groups were holed up attacking the "Hack24" challenge (more on that later) in the Leisure Center as well. The conference also had a nice hardware hacking section provided by "H.A.C.K" and a lock-picking workshop organized by "Lockpicking Blog".

Topics of Discussion

Topics of discussion for this conference covered a vast range of IT Security disciplines. Joe McCray (Strategic Security) held a "Demo Talk" surrounding SQL injection techniques where the audience was encouraged to participate in a lab that he had provided. Jeff Bardin (Treadstone 71), a keynote speaker, covered an interesting topic about the translation of HUMINT collection into the Cyber realm and how it could be used to better target your adversaries. He walked through various methods he had personally utilized to infiltrate multiple criminal underground organizations. Shakeel Tufail (HP), also a keynote speaker, covered, in great depth, software threat modeling and how it can be used to better protect your organization. Shay Chen (Hackticks EYP) unveiled a new extension to the OWASP ZAP called "Diviner", a tool that allows a pentester to accurately detect actual source code of a web application based on it's interaction with other elements on the web page or the backend web server. Dr. Boldizsar Bencsath (CrySyS Labs) spoke in depth about their discovery of the Duqu virus as well as their analysis of some very sophisticated malware known as Flame, Wiper, SkyWiper and Gauss.

Hack24 Challenge

A fun and exciting competition held at Hacktivity 2012 was the "Hack24" challenge where participants had only 24 hours to stop a new and sophisticated piece of malware known as the "Revolution virus" aimed at taking down the entire World Wide Web. The challengers were competing for an array of prizes, including the chance to drive a tank, you read that right, a tank. At the close of the game, two teams had tied for first place, only to be decided by the judges based on speed of answers provided.


Something very unique at Hacktivity 2012 that I found was an excellent addition to an IT security conference was the U25 (Under 25) Corner. This was an area of the conference that graduates under the age of 25 could attend a meet and greet with some Hungary's most prominent IT security professionals. It even included on hand HR professionals and job listings in the IT security field.

Hello Workshop

During both days of the conference, the "Hello Workshops" provided in depth, hands on training on subjects ranging from IP Tables, Secure Code Review, Hacking a Webserver to SSL Certificate Authority and even "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD). These workshops were included in the cost of the conference ticket with all of the classes almost entirely full. The takeaway from the conference when these courses are included is quite large.

I want to thank all of those who worked to put Hacktivity 2012 together, you guys put on a great conference. I am already looking forward to attending Hacktivity 2013.

For a full listing of the speaker line up and the talks provided @ Hacktivity 2012, please click on the link here.

More Stories By Cory Marchand

Cory Marchand is a trusted subject matter expert on topics of Cyber Security Threats, Network and Host based Assessment and Computer Forensics. Mr. Marchand has supported several customers over his 10+ years within the field of Computer Security including State, Federal and Military Government as well as the Private sector. Mr. Marchand holds several industry related certificates including CISSP, EnCE, GSEC, GCIA, GCIH, GREM, GSNA and CEH.

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