By Kathi Whitbey, Business Operations Manager, Unit 42, Palo Alto Networks

What’s your favorite time of year? Virus Bulletin (VB) time is mine! The VB Conference is held annually in the fall, in beautiful locations, and it brings together some of the brightest and technically savvy people in the information technology security industry in one place. I look forward to this conference every year, and wanted to share my perspective.

VB2023 was my 5th year in attendance, with this year being in beautiful London. Unlike other security conferences around the globe, VB has just the right number of people in attendance and the right blend of content. 

With this smaller attendee pool you are able to connect with industry leaders, industry peers, new attendees and VB regulars, some of whom have been attending for 30 years. The content is focused without being overwhelming, in easily digestible 30 minute blocks, including poster sessions, small talks and keynotes. Others have described the VB Conference as a well-regarded, intimate gathering of leaders in technology security coming together for the industry and digital ecosystem as a whole.

Throughout the conference, the variety of session topics, incredible expertise across the industry, and opportunities to make connections is what keeps so many people coming back year after year. We cannot thank enough the staff who work tirelessly throughout the year to bring a world class conference to people from every corner of the globe. Highlights you can expect when attending VB each year include the latest on APT threats, vulnerabilities, backdoors, new threat actor techniques, scams, regional and industry specific updates, cloud and AI. 

In addition to the content, I have many other favorite highlights. These include accolades for the number of years in attendance, awarding the best technical research via the Péter Szőr Award – Palo Alto Networks Unit 42’s Russia’s Trident Ursa (aka Gamaredon APT) Cyber Conflict Operations Unwavering Since Invasion of Ukraine research came in 2nd place (published here), the gala event complete with optional black ties and cocktail dresses, as well as the various meet and greets over lunches and coffee, to name a few. 

The Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA) is a key partner with Virus Bulletin, and they host the Threat Intelligence Practitioners’ Summit (TIPS). This is an additional opportunity for folks in the cybersecurity space to come together to discuss the past year’s cyber activities, threats and trends. VB is a place where we all, as industry leaders, can come together and make a difference while looking forward at what’s on the horizon. 

This year’s theme for the TIPS track was The Community Effect, which brought together CTA members and other partners to discuss how we are better when we come together as a community. I can’t think of a better organization to host this track, as this has been a core mission of the CTA since its inception. We are stronger together, and together we make positive changes across the industry.

From my perspective, as one of the founding member companies of the CTA, being part of the TIPS track is an honor and privilege for me each year. I was proud to be part of two panels and share the stage with cybersecurity experts from various CTA member companies and partner organizations. One panel I’ve participated on for the past four years uses a fireside chat format and song titles from iconic rock bands to guide our conversations. This year we chose Aerosmith, as they are completing their farewell tour, and we focused on such topics as the current threat landscape, resilience, partnerships and how we get over the hump to winning this ongoing battle. The second panel tackled the struggles we all have across the industry in responding to requests for information (RFIs) from our customers, government agencies, and internally within our own organizations.

The CTA is an organization that really walks the walk. It is a real testament to the impact that the CTA has had on the industry that Virus Bulletin continues to partner with them each year at the conference.

If you are looking for a conference to network with some of the best in the business, opportunities to hear about the latest threats and trends, and how you can get involved to support an ever evolving industry, Virus Bulletin is the place! I look forward to seeing you in Dublin, October 2-4, 2024.

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