My road to BlackHat Europe so far (or how to get your scholarship)!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently got awarded with a complimentary Student Scholarship to attend Black Hat Europe 2016 in London. Of course they do not search for all the qualified students in the world, but you as a student have to apply for the scholarship and after a review from their side, be accepted or rejected.

The application form is hosted here and consists of several questions. I will now provide you the answers I gave to the application form, but of course if you decide to apply, give your own answers, as my answers have been recorded and you will immediately disqualified.

  • Why do you want attend Black Hat?
    Black Hat is one of the biggest events in the security industry, with many breakthrough topics every year. Because of this, and because I want to work in the Cyber Security sector in the future, I think that Black Hat can give me a head start, with the knowledge and the acquaintances that I may acquire with my attendance in the event. Also, I am really passionate in the research of this field, and finally, I think that I will be able to stand out of the crowd on the friendly competitions of the event. 
  • What course work, training, and/or experiences have you had that you feel qualify you for a complimentary pass? Be as specific as possible.
    First of all, I have completed successfully the Computer Science (CS50) course of Harvard University, through the edx platform, with a week focused on security. I am a Bachelor’s degree holder in the field of “Supply Chain Management” and I have been selected to start a Master’s Degree in the field of “Informatics and Management” in October 2016. These are for my accademics.Continuing, I was trained from the age of 12, by my uncle, in the field of computer science and especially programming. By the age of 18, I have started working in the biggest Greek penetration testing magazine, DeltaHacker, as a content creator, covering advanced penetration testing topics. Now, I am a workshop instructor in PenTest Mag and Hakin9, two of the biggest penetration testing related magazines in the world. I also own a big Youtube channel and a blog, related to penetration testing and information security, named Cr0w’s Place.In addition, I have presented the topic “Penetration Testing with Android Devices” in the Google Developers conference of Thessaloniki 2014, and the topics “Integration of Augmented Reality technology into Warehouse Management Systems” and “Integration of Near Field Communication technology into Warehouse Management Systems” in the 12th Student Conference on Management Science and Technology.Finally, I have worked many times as a freelance penetration tester, and I have visited Germany after an invitation for cooperation from Auxilium Cyber Sec, with whom I may cooperate in the future, after my Master’s Degree. 
  • What specific research (Briefings, Arsenal tools, Keynotes, etc.) from past Black Hat events do you find especially interesting and WHY? Relating specific Black Hat content back to your course work and/or area of study will increase your chances of being awarded a scholarship. Please site at least 3 examples. Archives can be found here for reference:
    1. Don’t Stand So Close To Me: An Analysis of the NFC Attack Surface (July 25, 2012) – As I stated in the previous question, I have presented the topic “Integration of Near Field Communication technology into Warehouse Management Systems” which happens to also be my thesis topic for my bachelors. A big part of this topic was the security of NFC in which this Black Hat presentation helped me a lot, and I find it really interesting.
    2. Fingerprints on Mobile Devices: Abusing and Leaking (2015) – One of my main fields of interest in the security sector is mobile devices. I have presented a topic in the GDG, wrote many things on my blog and on the magazines I work. For this matter I am interested in many Android and iOS related presentations of BlackHat, and one of my favourites was this. I have many times referenced to the paper of this presentation.
    3. Hacking the Corporate Mind: Using Social Engineering Tactics to Improve Organizational Security Acceptance (July 26, 2012) – Because most of my work is based on the corporate world, as I studied in the Supply Chain Management field, I have used the knowledge acquired by this presentation, and other sources, to fix some aspects of security in the company I was helding an internship program, Kleemann S.a.
    4. Attacking Mobile Broadband Modems Like a Criminal Would (2014) – One of my biggest and most successful topic in the DeltaHacker Magazine, was based in this exact blackhat presentation. When I saw it, I was so excited that I wanted to present it to the Greek public, and I did it with great success.

    I have also, liked many other presentations but I think that these four was the most important now that I have to choose.

I have to thank many people for this opportunity, and for the state that I’ve reached until now, but I will not do it publicly. Keep in mind that all the above are property of the Cr0w’s Place and Thomas Sermpinis, and their use is prohibited. They have been uploaded for educational purposes only. Thank you and I wish good luck to every contestant.

BlackHat Europe 2016 is taking place in London, 1-4 November 2016. I will be happy to meet you there.