Friday, July 08, 2011

Exciting Happenings in Security Stack Exchange

You are probably aware I am one of the pro-tem Moderators for the global Security expert knowledge exchange, which was created as a public beta in November.

Well, we are almost at the stage of graduating to full Stack Exchange membership, with over 3000 users, and around 1000 visits a day, and the growth is increasing. Like the parent Stack Exchange group (currently with 57 sites live and over 19 million unique visitors) this question and answer site provides valuable information and guidance from experts and experienced professionals to a wide range of users.

A very cool visual identity has been crafted, and is almost finalised - check it out in this post by Jin.

To support this growth and transition to a full site, we have also created the Security Stack Exchange Blog - we went live this week. Check out the About page for a list of topics we are likely to cover, or request topics, either relating to questions, through our Question of the Week posts or by asking in the DMZ, our chat room.

On twitter, follow the hashtag #stacksecurity

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The White Hat Rally 2011

The 2011 Carry-On themed White Hat Rally was fiercely fought last weekend, with teams from all over the UK taking part, and raising money for and the NSPCC's Childline, with a total raised by Sunday topping £25,000.

Across the sunniest 3 days this summer we travelled from Brighton to Blackpool, following clues, competing in challenges, suffering japes, sabotage and mechanical issues, and enjoying the hospitality of towns along the way, as well as getting to know a like-minded bunch of security professionals all trying to make a difference.

I joined the NUKSG team in Leeds on Thursday, and we drove the Yellow Peril (an ancient Dodge Caravan bought for £350, bright yellow with an interior entirely covered in red velour) down to Brighton, where we met the other teams for a pleasant social...quite late on, due to starter motor issues, traffic, and the Yellow Peril's lack of a top speed (among other issues)

Day one - we met up at Brighton beach, a motley collection of classic cars, sports cars, agricultural and emergency vehicles and bangers. The day involved a lovely journey across the South Downs, following clues and ending up in Cheltenham. Each team had GPS tracking apps to allow the organisers and families to see how we were doing. At our first checkpoint stop the Pirates O' Pentest opened up the back of their ambulance to display a fully featured and functional cocktail bar - which went down very well at each stop for the next 3 days - raising extra money for charity. Lunch was hosted at Brooklands Museum, the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation, and included a speech by the Green Goddess, who also led us in some mild aerobics, despite being in her 70's. I was delighted to sit on the banking, poke around the classic cars and aircraft and play on the F1 simulator.

Due to a minor organisational hiccup, The StoryTeller restaurant in Cheltenham were not made aware of the party of 67 until a couple of hours before we arrived, but they coped amazingly well - getting us all seated and providing a lovely dinner.
The Scavenger Hunt in Cheltenham attracted a few entrants, but we didn'tfind out the results until Sunday night.

Saturday saw us winding through the countryside up to the oldest brewery in the UK, the Three Tuns in Shropshire, for lunch, a tour of the brewery and tasting of some new brews. I also met the lovely Clare Marie - the hostess of Dr Sketchy's London art events. The afternoon drive then led us up to Buxton and the Palace Hotel for our evening stop. Once again we were provided with an excellent dinner, this time at the Railway, and a Carry On quiz.

Sunday was a relatively short run, with some straightforward clues that got us to Blackpool, and the Big Blue hotel - which is where we were finally joined by 2 of our number we hadn't seen for the entire event...because they cycled the entire way!! Fancy dresses were out in force, and everyone had a great time on the rollercoasters and rides before dinner (can't believe I stayed on the Big One for 3 laps - I'm terrified of heights!) and prizegiving at the White Tower.

Team NUKSG did not win best dressed car, best fancy dress, or prize for quiz or scavenger hunt, however we did raise the most money so we were the overall winners and took home the star prize - a bottle of the Three Tun's Cleric's Cure each!

We are obviously keen to keep raising money so please visit our sponsorship page.

I will edit pictures in here, but the official picture page is here at Picasa.

Many thanks again to my sponsors:
  • Virgin Money - Virgin's banking department, and the providers of Virgin Money Giving - the only not-for-profit charity payments site.
  • Security Stackexchange - Global security Q&A and education site
  • Metaltech - my Rock band, preparing for new album launch party in August (@metltek and #burnyourplanet on Twitter)