Security Musings

Security Musings

New Orleans and SANS Security 2008

By Stephen Northcutt

Last Sunday, Mason Brown and I were working in Bethesda, Maryland getting ready for the Middle States Accreditation team to visit the SANS Technology Insitute,[1] our postgraduate scheool; it was about 1 PM and I was hungry. Since I teach for SANS I travel a lot and eat in restaurants a lot, so I didn't really care where we ate, but I wanted something spicy. We settled on the New Orleans Bistro on Cordell [2] and we both ordered one of the gumbos - I had the seafood, he ordered the Louisiana andouille; it is hard to believe okra, scallions, peppers, spices and a roux can be so good. We were working on the new web page for the SANS Software Security Insitute,[3] but Mason was doing all the writing so I had time to look around. The Bistro has photos of New Orleans throughout: steetcars, above-ground cemetaries; the French quarter; the lovely old southern houses in the garden district with their sleeping porches, high ceilings and elaborate wrought iron. By the time we were walking out of there, I was ready to jump a jet to the Big Easy. There was work to be done, so it wasn't an option, but since then, I have been thinking about New Orleans a lot; I miss it. If you ever have a chance, enjoy a Thanksgiving turducken [4] in the city, you will remember that experience all of your days.

The good news is SANS is going back to New Orleans, Jan 12 - 18, 2008 [5] and I can hardly wait. The instructor team is top notch, Chris Brenton, Eric Cole, Jason Fossen, Rob Lee, David Hoelzer, Ed Skoudis, James Tarala, the very best, and it will be fun to hang out with them in America's most unique city. There is even a YouTube video invite for the event.[6] Mario Batali put it, "In America, I would say New York and New Orleans are the two most interesting food towns. In New Orleans, they don't have a bad deli. There's no mediocrity accepted."[7] Amen to that, but there is more to do in New Orleans than eat; the first Mardi Gras parades start the 20th, the day after the final courses run, so if you are thinking about coming, stay an extra day or three. I am not a big fan of guided tours, but I have always enjoyed the New Orleans Gray Line tours. [8] I am already hitting up the restaurant food sites looking for some coupons, never hurts to get a discount. If you haven't seen the "fall in love with New Orleans all over again" video, you ought to check out the jazzvideo,[9] the memories will just wash over you, or if you have never been, don't miss it. If you are able to make it, take a close look at the one and two day courses running on the back end of the conference, amazing stuff, metaspoit, hardware hacking linksys routers,[10,11] plus some of the classic one day courses.

They say that soul is waterproof; Katrina is long past, used to be that when you said hurricane in New Orleans you were talking about a drink at Pat O'Briens,[12] and I for one believe that day has come back again. If you visit New Orleans, drop me a note with a picture,[13] I love seeing my old friends.