I recently attended Hacktivity, one of the largest and most successful jamborees for the security industry in the CEE region (Update – April 2023: The website seems to be out of use, and we therefore deactivated the original link).
This event is organized annually in Budapest, and attracts attendees from all over the region, as well as Europe. I was lucky to be able to sit down with the main organizer, Bernadette Kis, to chat about the event and its future.
How would you describe Hacktivity?
Hacktivity is the biggest IT security festival in Central Eastern Europe, lasting 2 days, organised once a year with 1200-1300 participants from 25-30 countries, including the US, India and Russia.
We describe it a ‘festival’ as it provides much more than just speakers; we intend to keep on breaking barriers with games, like Hack24 for instance, which is actually a 24-hour hackathon competition for small teams working on social engineering tasks for instance, who can hack other participants and the hostesses for prizes and some recognition. We do our best to make it fun and interactive with networking, a party, workshops to learn hacking and lock-picking, as well as hardware hacking. All in all, it’s a chance to discover the full scope of security in an enjoyable way.
What’s the story behind the event?
It all started as a meetup in 2002 in Budapest, with young like-minded people looking for a forum to share their professional experiences and challenges. Since then, it’s just kept on growing. The next step was organising it as a conference, and soon after we founded a company focusing only on this brand that I have been managing.
How do you see the future of the event? What are your plans?
The official language of the event is English and we are progressing year to year. Our plan is to continue making Hacktivity an important international IT Security meeting point in Europe. It is an open-minded, still profession-focused event-series, where buying a marketing speech or a product demo slot is not accepted, and an independent committee takes responsibility for the transparency and for even inviting the keynote speaker. We have never asked for state funding and we take responsibility for the future of the industry by making students able to join for a much lower price. We are keen to receive any feedback, and suggestions, or new ideas!
Speaking of events, do you have your ticket yet for the upcoming EU-Startups Summit?