Le Tour Du Hack 2023

Last weekend I attended my first in person conference since Covid hit and I can safely say that it was long overdue! In that time, I went into remote working, had another child, moved house and started a new job (which is fully remote). So yeah, I really don’t interact with people in person much.

The Conference

The conference was hosted by ENUSEC, a student society founded at Edinburgh Napier University. They were founded in 2015 while I was studying at the Uni, but I didn’t become a formal member because *choose excuse from list [childcare, work, shy / introvert, life in general].

And my morning started out the same as I left off while at Uni, sat on my own, watching groups of friends* talking and catching up…waiting to see what happened first - spot a familiar face or the conference to start (it was the latter).

*I’ll come back to this later

Opening Keynote (Scott McGready)

Great keynote by Scott which I found resonated with me and really got me thinking about my approach to a lot of things on a personal level. Things like not knowing something or someone and putting yourself out there to learn and network in person, given the cyber security industry is small - networking and knowing people can make a difference. There are friends (and potential colleagues) to be met out there, so be brave and go say hello.

A Twitter thread formatted version of Scott’s talk can be found here.

To quote the final Tweet in the thread above:

And finally… why the hell are you still reading this? Go forth and network! Write that CFP! Spin up that blog!
Do that business idea! Do what makes you happy.

This talk and the day in general have been the reason for me deciding to reboot my blog and put myself out there more. So, thanks for the inspiration!


I won’t go into detail on each talk so I’ll list the talks I attended and a short summary. For those I did attend, they were all very interesting and provided some insights to topics I am not familiar with.

Talks attended with short summary:

  • Bitweighting for Perceptual Hash Similarity Comparisons (Karen Taljard)
    • Interesting concepts. Learned about Perceptual Hashing and Bitweighting and how it could be implemented in Forensic cases
  • Breaking In: The Physical Frontline of Information Security (Ben Jacob)
    • Fab talk. Amazing to see and learn about the physical security aspects of being a penetration tester
  • A Day in the Life - A Memoir (Miguel Marques)
    • Another interesting talk. Good content on skills and traits to have for being a pen tester + war stories!
  • Have You Been Zucked? Probably, here’s how you can find out! (Charlie Hosier & Lloyd Davies)
    • Good insight into how “not” to develop a web app and the way their data experiment blew up for a short time

Closing Keynote (Zibby Kwecka)

The closing keynote was also very insightful and given the topics touched on (again) about networking with people, I was feeling personally attacked :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:. It’s like they knew I was attending and needed to hear what had to be said!

Jokes aside, there was a slide (with Lego figures) that really emphasised how to help people get an introduction into established groups where people know each other. Sometimes it isn’t just about being brave enough to say hello, especially if a group has formed in a closed circle. You have done your part and could still feel left out or not acknowledged. But if groups, or an individual in a group takes the onus on them to break/open that circle - it is already more welcoming for that person being brave to get in and say hello.

The Afters

Having bumped into one familiar face (Peter), and using the advice from throughout the day, a number of groups formed to head out for a bite to eat before the After Party kicked off and I met some pretty cool and interesting people.

I’d say it was definitely noticeable throughout the day and evening that the networking talks had done their bit as there was plenty of inter group chat going on which was awesome. I also imagine that the free bar tab and cake may have helped in some way to get conversation flowing and keep it going into the night!


The conference and talks were great, as was the setup for the After Party. I learned a good deal, made some new friends and connections, and caught up with a couple of familiar faces.

As already mentioned, I’ve been inspired to try and upkeep a blog once again. I’ve also opened up for some possible opportunities to “give back” to the Uni and current students (more to come in another post).

Oh, and not to forget the guys at Defcon Edinburgh (DC44131) who I’m sure will badger me until I get along to a meet up and give a talk!

I’ve tried linking at least one social if I have it for those mentioned in this post

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