A Conversation with the founder of NULLCON – India’s leading Security Conference!

It’s the NULLCON Season in India, and the Security Community is all excited and geared up to experience this year’s NULLCON. And we at SecurityHappenings got a chance to interact with Antriksh. 

Mr. Antriksh is the founder of NULLCON International Security Conference & hardwear.io Security Conference. We happened to ask him a lot of questions about this year’s NULLCON and this is what he had to say.

 

SH: Firstly, Congratulations for making it to the 9th season of NULLCON. With 9th season in progress it surely says a lot about how enthusiastic the Indian Information Security Community is.

So how do you feel nullcon making it to its 9th successful season, and what has been your learning from the past nullcon events?

Antriksh: When we have just started back in 2010, nullcon was known as a mainly research oriented conference. And this is something we would like to keep throughout all of our journey. However, the event was growing and evolving over the years and obtained variety of important additions. One of the most valuable ones is a participation of CXOs from all around the world. In recent years, enterprises find it beneficial to build strong business relationships during the conference and get an opportunity to recruit highly skilled talents out of nullcon participants. In addition, many Indian researches choose to present their work at nullcon first and after that deliver the same talks at the other events.

 

And how do you see the Indian Crowd perceiving the trends in the Information Security community?

Antriksh: Nowadays, it is a lot of noise within India regarding InfoSec Community. The Government is becoming proactive and taking the steps towards implementing Information Security into its system. Many students are pursuing careers as Security Researchers, Consultants and Analysts. According to Google, Microsoft, HackerOne & Bugcrowd reports, a lot of young security professionals report very serious security issues and are willing to participate in various bug bounty programs. Even in global perspective, major players on the market are recognizing and acquiring Indian product companies such as Cyberoam, Bluelane, Nevis Networks and other.

 

We have always seen nullcon supporting the younger crowd of Security Researchers, will we get to the see the same this time as well?

Antriksh: Yes, according to our survey, almost half our participants are 30 years old or younger. And India is a Young Country itself. Over 60% of all nullcon audience are hands-on researchers as well. People come to nullcon to upgrade and enhance their skills and boast their achievements within the InfoSec community. Our attendees enjoy the informal style of the event, fun of learning while playing CTFs, working on their own projects and appreciate our efforts in contributing to the InfoSec community!

 

Any interesting topics or training you feel to look ahead for, during this season of nullcon?

Antriksh: I would say our “Practical IoT Hacking” Training is a topic which will be extremely relevant in the future. No surprise all of its seats are already sold out! Also, this year’s brand new  Practical 3G / 4G Security and Attacks Traning will be conducted for the first time not only at nullcon but in whole India. There are a considerable number of security researchers in India working in Telecom Domain so this training focus is to benefit them on the first place.

 

Any big names in the speakers list coming in this time from the western side of the world?

Antriksh: Yes, we have prepared quite a few big names to surprise our attendees. Our keynote speaker is Haroon Meer – Founder of Thinkst. We have an overwhelming response on our social media regarding his talk. People are getting excited already. Our brand new Civil Society Track will host a bunch of great speakers, such as Eva Galperin, EFF’s Director of Cybersecurity. Jason Haddix, Head of Trust and Security at Bugcrowd, will bring his hands-on The Bug Hunter’s Methodology workshop to nullcon. Within the training, I would like to highlight – Mario Heiderich, Adam Laurie & Joerg Simon.

 

There’s been a big number of volunteers who have been part of the NULLCON ever since its inception, I’m talking about the Null Community, what do you have to say about the efforts put in by all the volunteers.

Antriksh: The idea of nullcon has originally emerged from the null meetups. The null community has always been a key backbone supporter for nullcon.  Its chapter leaders are a big help and ready to volunteer at all of the conference activities such as the organization of CTF, workshop assistance, career village and many more. Currently, there are 10 null chapters in India and 3 International ones that are spreading the word about nullcon.

 

Where do you see the Information Security Community here in India heading towards in terms of research (The next big thing)

Antriksh: India has always been a software developing country and hence currently the companies on the market are mainly focused on doing VAPT & security professionals approaching bug bounties programs. In my opinion, we need to focus more on R&D but it requires access to appropriate research facilities, equipment, and funding. Countries like Israel & Germany are investing money in innovative research right from the roots starting with supporting students in universities. Unfortunately, still very few of Indian researchers are able to conduct innovative research with bootstrapping funds since there almost none support is coming from outside investors.

 

The NULLCON After Party seems to have been making a lot of news in the past years for all the good reasons, are we looking ahead to something this year too?

Antriksh: The Social event is one of the key parts of a successful conference. People come to the event to make new connections within the community and Goa is a perfect place for a good party after all. Throughout the years, we had various entertainment geeks, like Rock Band performance, Belly Dancers, Flair bartending, beach party, Casino Cruise, etc. And this year is no exception! Since the conference happens to be during the Holi festival, we will celebrate as #hackerholi with Colors and Rain Dance.

 

And seems like the tickets are selling like hot cakes, most of our readers and subscribers are still looking out for passes for nullcon, are there still any possibilities they could get one? 😉

Antriksh: There is no limit for nullcon attendees! Everyone is welcome at the Conference and we are looking forward to hosting all of you in Goa.

 

Thanks a lot for answering these questions, we wish all the very best to NULLCON and its team.

Antriksh: Thank you!

 

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