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We were recently at the Infosecurity Europe 2013 conference in the UK, which was a rousing success. One of my favorite aspects of my job is going to big events like Infosec13 and then ditching the big show entirely for a day or two and heading over to a Security BSides event.

Luckily, in the UK they have BSidesLondon, hands down one of the best BSides events anywhere in the world. Yes, I said ‘world’ because in just a few short years the BSides phenomena has fully gone global.

Talking with one of the BSides founders at the show, Jack Daniel (@Jack_Daniel) mentioned that this year the number of events would end up being in the triple digits, truly a remarkable accomplishment.

As their wiki page states, “Each BSides is a community-driven framework for building events for and by information security community members.  The goal is to expand the spectrum of conversation beyond the traditional confines of space and time.  It creates opportunities for individuals to both present and participate in an intimate atmosphere that encourages collaboration. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from participants. It is where conversations for the next-big-thing are happening.”

Tru dat. And if you have yet to attend a BSides event, you are really missing out. They are not the expensive, big vendor-driven spectacles that the majority of security conferences seem to be. They are small, intimate, issue and education driven, and best of all they are affordable.

No BSides event in your area? Time to start one and assert yourself as an information security leader in your region. All the details are here at the main BSides wiki site. All BSides events are listed there, and all of these events need the support of the community through donations and volunteerism.

And if you really have some moxie, submit a proposal to become a session presenter. Not used to conducting technical presentations? BSides has a fantastic mentor program and many of the events now include a rookie track so upstarts in the field can get some experience. Rookies are paired with seasoned pros who nurture their talks. It’s a great learning experience.

OK – there is the BSides pitch for today (if you can not tell, I am a huge fan of the movement). Now for a little fun. We asked attendees, speakers and staff at the BSidesLondon event to do speech-bubble photos for us, and as always we got a mix of funny, weird, thoughtful, quirky and insightful answers to the open-ended question: “A Good Hacker Always…”

Here is what they had to say:

Special thanks to the crew at BSidesLondon and Jim Shields of Twist &Shout productions (@twistandshoutUK).