[Interview] Ioan Constantin, Orange Romania: DefCamp’s longevity is a testament to how a community can grow.

Ioan Constantin, Orange Romania

We are thrilled to say we’ve successfully wrapped up another amazing DefCamp edition, the most important annual conference on Hacking & Information Security in Central Eastern Europe.

The 9th edition of DefCamp welcomed more than 1800 attendees, from security experts and entrepreneurs to developers, university teachers, students, journalists or cybersecurity enthusiasts from Romania and abroad.
Over 60 speakers brought on stage some of the hottest infosec topics, fresh news, and recent findings in cybersecurity, and engaged with the audience in heated Q&A sessions.

For the fourth time, we benefited from full support of our trusting and long-term partner, Orange Romania. They provided and managed the Wi-Fi infrastructure during the two-day conference and provided Internet access to more than 1,500 visitors.

Here’s what Ioan shared about this year’s DefCamp experience and what made it special for the entire team.

The fourth edition of DefCamp was a very busy one for us as we maintained a consistent presence in most of the conference tracks and activities. We hosted three very promising start-ups from our accelerator program, Orange Fab, each presenting interesting solutions to today’s threats to information security.

We also gave the audience a sneak peek into some of our developments in using Machine Learning for Advanced Threat detection and we co-hosted and participated in a Master Class on RESISTO, one of the most ambitious Horizon 2020 projects which Orange is part of.

Another thing that made this edition special for us was the fact that most of the young hackers that represented Romania at the ECSC ’18 finals participated in the D-CTF competition. They made it through the qualification phase and finished the competition in the first half of the board. We supported the team through the qualifying stages, the boot camp and the finals in London and we’re very proud to see that these talented young people are part of DefCamp.

All these projects prove and show the efforts Ioan and the team from Orange Romania are putting into making both regular users and organizations more aware of the importance of data security in our lives.
In an interview before DefCamp #9, Ioan talked about how the company is actively engaged in bringing data security into the spotlight and raise awareness among home users and companies.

The D-CTF competition remains one of the main attractions at the DefCamp conference, and probably the most effective way for participants to challenge their security skills.

As an active contributor to this project, we wanted to know how the D-CTF competition evolved in the past years. Where could it go next?

We’re amazed to see that teams from around the world, from Singapore to Romania, are participating in this exciting CTF that –honestly – has only one rule: hack before being hacked :).

The diversity and the complexity of the competition have grown over the past years, transforming D-CTF into one of the most important challenges of its kind here, in Europe. We’re more than happy to see this CTF grows year over year and we’re hoping that, in the future, it will bring together even more teams and possibly become Europe’s de-facto CTF.

Orange Romania is not only involved in educating the young generation in cybersecurity through awareness campaigns but is also a supporter and contributor of competitions like D-CTF.

Given the fact Ioan and his team spent time with participants from all over the world during DefCamp#9, we were curious to find out which infosec skills have they seen attendees are most interested in.

We’ve seen an increasing interest from the attendees in areas such as Deep Learning and Machine Learning as a subset of A.I. and its usage in advanced detection and mitigation of next-gen threats such as APTs, zero-days, etc.

We’re also noticing the large interest in already established areas such as crypto and reverse engineering

We are happy to see how attendees take a serious interest in innovative technologies such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence which already have a huge impact on our lives and data security.

We are also fully aware that infosec conferences like DefCamp can be a great opportunity for those passionate about cybersecurity to meet like-minded individuals and share ideas and projects.

Moreover, DefCamp can also be the right place for companies to reach out to them and hire the right people for their open roles.
Here’s what Ioan thinks about the role this event plays in attracting talent to the infosec field:

DefCamp has constantly bridged the gap between young, skilful people and companies actively involved in innovation in the information security field. There are a great dynamic and an ever-shifting playing field in the infosec and cybersecurity business, with technologies coming in and going out of scope in the blink of an eye.

We’re living the era when startups become unicorns, with companies always betting on the next ‘big thing’. There’s one constant and that’s the talented people behind the idea, the research, the product. And this is where DefCamp shines: in bringing together amazing people and great opportunities.

We’re excited to hear from people like Ioan, who share their honest feedback and encourage everyone with a keen interest in cybersecurity to attend DefCamp and be part of this amazing community while meeting some of the best infosec experts out there.  

Speaking of the upcoming DefCamp edition, 2019 will be a special year, as the conference will turn 10 years old. We wanted to know what Ioan believes this means for the infosec community.

Apart from the obvious reason for celebration, I think DefCamp’s longevity is a testament to how a community can grow from just a few individuals passionate about cybersec and infosec to thousands of people who share the same interest.

It also shows that this community has reached a certain level of maturity that allows for great collaboration between parties, on new ideas and technologies.

There’s still room for growth as infosec is steadily becoming one of the most important fields in today’s business and lots of talented people, coming from different places all around the world, need platforms such as DefCamp to exchange ideas and to build opportunities.

Once again, we want to thank Ioan for taking the time to share his thoughts after DefCamp#9 and for the entire support Orange Romania has given to organizing the biggest DefCamp to date.
Hope to see you all next year!

This interview was made by Ioana Rijnetu. You can get in touch with her on LinkedIn or say hello on Twitter.

DefCamp is powered by Orange Romania and it’s organized by the Association “Research Center for Information Security in Romania” (CCSIR).

DefCamp 2018 was sponsored by Ixia, Keysight Business, SecureWorks and Intralinks as Platinum Partners and it’s supported by IPSX, Bit Sentinel, TAD Group, Enevo, Crowdstrike, CryptoCoin.pro, Siemens, Alef, UiPath and Kaspersky Lab.

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