On Saturday Dec 3, at BSides Cape Town we announced the winner of a prize for local information security research. The purpose of the competition was twofold. Firstly, to highlight interesting research produced in .za for the purpose of publicising up 'n coming security folks, since there are a few disparate communities (academic / industry is the greatest split). Secondly, to provide some degree of reward in the form of a cash prize. The prize is (unsurprisingly) not meant to compensate for time spent, but rather to give the typical researcher who conducts the work in their spare time some recognition and perhaps a cool gadget to associate with the work.
The competition was a little disappointing for a single, but significant, reason: the lack of nominations. In all, six people nominated three pieces of work from two researchers. Considering there were four security conferences this year in South Africa, it's not possible that even a reasonable minority of the research produced was considered for the prize. This was a no-strings-attached cash prize; there is no handover of IP or copyright, and no requirements on the winner (though we do offer an interview on our blog to publicise their work, should they choose to). With this in mind, it's strange how few nominations were received; for example, while the competition received some coverage on Twitter, very few nominations originated from there. The timing was tight (competition announced two weeks prior to BSides), but that only accounts for a smaller circumference, not a lack of involvement.
The two nominees were:
Thanks to the Pieter for organising BSides Cape Town and providing us a spot to announce the winners, and thanks to everyone who sent in a nomination. Compliments to both nominees for having their work recognised by others in the community, and congratulations to Etienne for winning the prize.
We remain committed to research and the sponsorship concept, so expect an announcement towards the end of next year and keep an eye open during the year for research that strikes you as interesting.
SensePost is proud to announce a competition to identify the best information security research published by a resident of South Africa in 2011 (Jan 1st to Dec 3rd). Much security research is unfunded and private but, when published, enters the toolsets and minds of security companies worldwide. South Africa's security industry is best-described as "fledgling", and we want to support researchers who produce quality research.
Heads up: even if you're not a researcher, you can still win by nominating work, so continue reading.
SensePost employees and members of the judging panel are obviously excluded.
We're seeking interesting / groundbreaking / game-changing information security research, either industry-focused or academically-inclined.
You're welcome to make multiple nominations for different work, and even nominate your own work.
In addition, we'll award a R500 finder's fee to the person who nominated the winner. Should the winner have been nominated multiple times, then all verified nominator names will be placed into a hat and a single winner drawn.