It's already mid-week at RSA 2012, and wow, it's really huge this year! For those who've never attended RSA, you need to understand that it's the biggest security conference (at least in the US), typically with attendance in the 12,000+ range. A couple years ago things were looking very bleak. The economy was down, the expo floor was dismal, attendance was sparse, limited mostly to vendors crying in the aisles. Last year was better, but this year... well, this year can only be described as a blow-out return to better times. It's simply mind-boggling how many people are here this year.
But it's not just that... despite Art's overblown rah-rah speech in the opening keynote yesterday, I really do think that people are feeling a bit optimistic these days. Sitting in the 2nd annual "risk management smackdown" panel, it actually sounds like many people are starting to grok risk management. Sitting in the security burnout panel on Monday, I think people truly appreciated that we are a high-risk career field that needs support structures. Speaking with various (true) geniuses at the speakers' dinner last night, I learned of new advances in cryptography that are already advancing well to replace our aging frameworks, and I even met the phenom Ang Cui from Columbia University, who has not only demonstrated a way to hack an HP printer by simply printing his resume (in postscript), but has done considerable research around automated embedded system exploitation AND DEFENSE!!
I've not had much opportunity to walk around the expo floor, where I'm sure I'll find a variety of nauseating marketing themes, but I regardless can't help feeling like we're turning a corner here in 2012. It's very exciting to be able to watch and participate in a transformative time in history. Let's hope this trend continues.