As I prep for another security conference, it occurred to me that, given what appears to be a rise in sexual assaults at security conferences, I should post something about how my friends and colleagues who also attend can help keep me, and others, safe.
Dear friend, colleague, or person I see every August,
With the nature of the InfoSec community being what it is, and the logistics of conference attendance, I need your help to avoid harassment, sexual assault, and just general nastiness. I'd like to say I can just avoid any dangerous situation or possibility of someone misconstruing my intentions, but the nature of InfoSec is private side conversations, social engineering, and consumption of food and beverages with others. The way I stay safe is first by trusting my instincts, but it is also trusting you to have my back. To that end:
1. Keep your eye out for me. If I'm off in the corner talking to someone, catch my eye for a signal, and if needed, come rescue me. If you see me leaving with someone you don't know or trust, ping me to make sure I'm ok. If something seems off, come talk to me and see what's up. And if you see someone hovering around my drink - warn me and dump it, I can get a new one.
2. Don't put me in difficult situations. When we're all getting in cabs, arrange to make sure I ride with a few people or someone I know well. If you've invited me to something and can't make it, text me and let me know, and give me notes so I can go in prepared. If you introduce someone as trusted, make sure you'd be ok with them alone with your sister/mother/etc.
3. Answer my calls. If I call you, it's almost always urgent in some way.
4. Give me feedback. You may see something I don't see, and I need all the data I can get to keep safe.
I look forward to another conference where my stories involve learning cool things and meeting cool people, not hiding from stalkers/escaping attackers.