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Thoughts & Things


Hey! It’s been awhile but here we are and I have some exciting things to share!

I was finally able to attend #DEFCON27 this year through the WISP scholarship!! I was awarded a ticket to both DEFCON and Diana Initiative talks/workshops along with a travel stipend. Speaking of travel, I’ll save you all the drama regarding getting to Las Vegas (thank you so much, American Airlines 🙄) - lets just say it involved a ton of delays and an impromptu overnight stay in Downtown LA, but I digress!

My plan going into DEFCON27 was to take in the experience and absorb as much info as I could. I made a list of talks I wanted to attend and utilized the HackerTracker app (so clutch!). My first day was spent with the amazing folks at the Diana Initiative. I soldered my own badge, learned how to pick 2-5 pin locks, along with handcuffs, and attended a talk titled, “On this journey, where do I go next?”.

I was able to stop by the IoT village and catch the “A glorious celebration of IoT security” talk. After attending, I stuck a round for a bit to walk around the village. I was slightly in my feelings a bit not participating in any of the CTFs; they ranged from hacking washing machines to ATMs and even scooters. It legit felt like a trip to Disney World and not being tall enough to ride anything lol but it gave me more motivation to be ready for next year! I attended a talk on a tool that allows you to generate wordlists using Twitter accounts at the #ReconVillage, and how to hack your career through social engineering at the #SEVillage.

While at DEFCON, I got the awesome chance to meet up with my YaYs 🥰. Although we’d mostly connected only online, we were able to meetup, laugh like we’d known each other for years and most importantly, show up for each other. I finally saw Steph in action on the WISP leadership panel, Naj speak on tying the knot between forensic science and cyber security and Jai give awesome advice on preparing for your next Infosec role. These were all their first of many talks at DEFCON and I could not be more proud and inspired by them! Magen also held it down with organizing the DEFCON Workshops - which I know was not an easy task to handle and succeed at so you’re definitely appreciated!!!

In addition to attending the talks above, I courageously participated in a spelling bee (spoiler alert: I lost 🤷🏾‍♀️), attended the Blacks in Cyber meet-up event and enjoyed quite a few dinners and brunches with my girls. (I also won a few bucks my first time at the Blackjack table & attended Drais hosted by 50 Cent - gotta have a nontech life too, ya know 😉) Although the talks were all amazing and I took gems away from each and every one of them, I must admit the people I met this past weekend made my experience. I’ve said many times that had it not been for my YaYas, I would’ve been an introvert the entire time in my hotel room lol.

Now that I know what to expect, next year I plan to attend as many workshops and CTFs my heart and laptop can handle…I might even sponsor a badge and or give a talk myself. 👀 Either way, I’ll be at DEFCON28 and I hope to report back on another amazing year!

BiC meetup (  @BlackInCyberCo1   )

BiC meetup (@BlackInCyberCo1)

Learning new skills with @  lockpickextreme

Learning new skills with @lockpickextreme

The WISP Scholars Brunch (  @wisporg   )

The WISP Scholars Brunch (@wisporg)

YaYassss ✨ (bottom pic from L to R   @Is_Vix   ,    jaidbarrett   ,    StephandSec   ,    ForSci_Q   ,    Ebunsky   ,    hackerbae_   ,    magen_wu   , & a very tired    txxsec    🤣)

YaYassss ✨ (bottom pic from L to R @Is_Vix, jaidbarrett, StephandSec, ForSci_Q, Ebunsky, hackerbae_, magen_wu, & a very tired txxsec 🤣)

Taye Vavaldefcon