I've been a member of the RSAC Program Committee for many years, but it still astounds me how many "hidden gems" and free hands-on labs are scattered throughout the agenda. Plus, learn more about supporting students and Team Rubicon.

I’ve been a member of the RSAC Program Committee for many years, but it still astounds me how many “hidden gems” and free hands-on labs are scattered throughout the agenda. I stumbled on a few putting together The Network Security Pro’s Guide to RSAC, and then reached out to my friends (and RSAC content masterminds) Britta Glade and Kacy Zurkus for more.

If you’re interested in interactive sessions, hands-on labs, collaboration, check out this list.

Learning Labs

Learning Labs are longer sessions, usually 1.5 to 2 hours in length and are more hands-on. Note that some labs require attendees to bring their own laptop, may recommend installing lab software ahead of time, and others don’t. Here are a few highlights, but you can find the full list of learning labs on the agenda.

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather (BoF) were formerly called Peer to Peer sessions at RSAC and are peer-oriented roundtables. They’re limited to around 20 attendees, don’t include any presentation, but do have a facilitator. Here are a few that caught my eye. Notice some of the facilitators from organizations such as the US Cyber Command, FBI, and representatives from MITRE and NIST. These are a GREAT way to have a conversation about a topic instead of a one-way information push of a presentation.

Also worth noting, media and press are not allowed in Birds of a Feather sessions.


Hop over to Moscone South in between sessions to check out the Sandbox (that’s what I do). RSAC Sandbox explores various disciplines of cybersecurity in new and innovative ways. This year, RSAC is featuring six different sandboxes with dozens of interactive experiences such as Capture the Flag and live demos. You’ll also find Lightning Talks – the new rapid-fire session format, and plenty of networking with our CyBEER Ops reception and more in this casual, cool atmosphere adjacent to RSAC Early Stage Expo

See the Sandbox landing page, hours, and links to all activities. This year’s sandboxes are:

  1. IoT Sandbox hosted by IoT Village with CTFs, live bug hunting, and more
  2. ICS Sandbox hosted by ICS Village with CTFs and industrial process hacking through today’s TTPs
  3. Dark Arts Sandbox hosted by Dark Arts Village has a great lineup for researchers and bug bounty hunters
  4. AppSec Sandbox hosted by AppSec Village is covering exploits in software that impact  IoT, medical devices, the power grid, smart cars, and voting apps, among other things
  5. Aerospace Sandbox hosted by Aerospace Village is showing how savvy aerospace companies, security researchers, and the public are working towards a safe, reliable, and trustworthy environment
  6. Supply Chain Village Sandbox hosted by I Am The Calvary
  7. SANS NetWars hosted by SANS is a tournament happening Tuesday and Wednesday and is presented alongside the Sandbox content

Students and Security Scholars

This is really neat! Each year RSA Conference Security Scholar hosts scholars from select universities. Many of these select scholars will share their current research with attendees at a poster board exhibition on Wednesday, June 8 from 12:25 – 1:15 PM PT.

There are about 15 students presenting research boards. I’m just going to highlight Nyteisha, who’s coming from NC A&T University here in North Carolina and speaking on medical device security which I’m very passionate about.

Nyteisha Bookert
Scholars Student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University 

“Will Examining Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices in the smart home environment reveal new privacy threats? “
Watch her 3-minute thesis video here!


Team Rubicon

If you haven’t heard of Team Rubicon, take one minute to read this.

Team Rubicon is a veteran-led disaster response organization that helps people prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises. Launched in 2010 in response to the earthquake in Haiti, the organization has grown to more than 150,000 volunteers who have responded globally to over 1,000 disasters or crises. Team Rubicon supports vulnerable communities by responding to all phases of the disaster cycle to minimize risk and increase resilience.

Don’t miss Jake Wood’s keynote Wednesday and learn more about Team Rubicon, how to volunteer or donate.


Author, speaker, and recognized authority on network and wireless security architectures, Jennifer (JJ) Minella helps organizations solve technical problems and align teams.

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