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ModSecurity Blog: August 2004

EuroFoo Impressions

You know you are too busy when you have to wait a week to find time to write about an event you really enjoyed. I've spent the weekend before last in Holland, attending EuroFoo together with 138+ other geeks (more details in the EuroFoo Wiki, which BTW appears to be broken at the moment). Needless to say, it's been a great fun - a big thank you to O'Reilly who have invited us all. Judging from the comments made by others, we liked the conference because it was not a conference - it was merely a gathering of similar-minded people. We were free to do whatever we wanted. So we did. The most interesting thing for me was being able to watch other people, and learn what they do for fun. I am not alone in this it seems, Jono did the same. I also got to meet Nathan Torkington, who was responsible for me signing with O'Reilly in the first place. Thanks Nat! In fact, so many things happened that weekend that I have trouble remembering it all.

I did give a talk about web security at the conference, but it was not very well attended (I was not alone in the room, mind you, but I would have appreciated more attendees). That's no wonder since I was one of few people there who had security listed in their interests. The first part of the talk was probably boring as I tried to cover too much ground. It didn't help that I didn't plan for the talk to happen (it was an impulse I had after seeing an empty space in the schedule). Fortunately, towards the end the talk turned into a discussion with the people present, and that was a much more interesting thing to do. What I learned? Do not give talks unless you came prepared!

OSCOM4 Web Security Talks

I will be giving two talks at the forthcoming OSCOM4 conference in Zurich. The third track of the conference this year is an Apache track. It seems to be a lightweight ApacheCon Europe, hopefully as an introduction for the real thing in 2005. Anyway, the registration for OSCOM4 is now open so go and register if you are interested.

My talks will be about web security - no surprise there. The first talk, Threat Modeling for Web Applications will discuss what the real dangers to web applications are. Sure, web security is/was a big hit in 2004 but many people seem to be protecting from the wrong things. In the talk I will present a lightweight methodology how to determine what the biggest threats are, and how to guard against them.

The second talk, Challenges of Web Intrusion Detection, will look at the possible strategies to monitor web application usage in real time, detect and prevent attacks. IDS/IPS systems can exist on different levels (network, application, operating system) but the idea I want to put through is one of integration. Applications are often best equipped to detect anomalies. They just need to be integrated with an IDS system to make it work better. I am pretty sure mod_security will be a large part of this talk.

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