Let me just start this review off by saying I don’t think I have ever been to a conference with as good of lineup, organization, or venue as PHDays had.
The venue was Digital October in Moscow and I don’t think there is anything comparable to it in America. They had huge monitors (40 feet x 15 feet), great technical staff, instant translation, HD online streaming and awesome speaker support.
It has to easily be one of the 5 best security conferences in the world based solely on the talks that were done in English. It had the developers of SQLMAP, W3AF and Mimikatz all speaking about their projects. It had Travis Goodspeed and Sylvain Munaut talking about physical hardware manipulation. Those were just the English talks, the Russian talks were just as good.
The CTF was also pretty awesome to watch. They had a dumpster diving challenge where the teams had to try to find an MD5 hash. I hadn’t seen that before in a CTF and thought it was genius.
They also gave away two A.R. Drones during the CTF to any team that could hack them. Along with a ATM hacking contest that I missed but would have loved to have seen.
When you see the CFP for PHDays 2013 open up you really should submit. You will be treated great and given an opportunity to meet a whole group of people who are really passionate about computer security. I made a great deal of new friends from Russia, The independent nation of Appalachia and Europe over the last week and will never forget this trip.