By 2001, the prestige of the show was such that it drew notorious hacker Kevin Mitnik back into the public eye after his release from jail in 2000 as a guest of security vendor Authentify. "It was good to reintegrate myself back into the computer security business without much resistance," he said in a blog about attending the show.
"Having once been banned from the 1991 DECUS conference in Las Vegas solely based on my reputation as a hacker (and my forays into DEC's Easynet), I know the feeling of being unwelcome. So I was pleasantly surprised to find most of the attendees friendly and respectful."
He was also critical of the physical security at the show, noting that he wandered around unchallenged without a conference badge, gaining access to areas containing corporate laptops and expensive security gear, perhaps tempting his larcenous side.
Since 1995, the show has had official themes. That year it was the Egyptian scarab seals which were used to carry encrypted messages. In 1998 the theme was Trithemius, the medieval monk whose treatise on witchcraft was actually an encrypted book about hiding encryption and an iconic example of steganography.
Other themes have included amateur cryptologist Edgar Allen Poe, the secrets of the Maya and the Rosetta Stone. This year the theme is dedicated to two people, Alice and Bob, who were used to represent person A and person B in Rivest, Shamir and Leonard Adelman's 1978 paper on public-key cryptosystems. Since then Alice and Bob have been adopted by the industry and commonly represent hypothetical parties in transactions to help make explanations of technology easier to grasp.
This year's hot topics will be cloud security and the challenge of securing mobile devices in corporate networks, LaPedis says.
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