I think Ernie would smile (is smiling) about how this came about.
We wanted Robert Lee to teach a class at S4x16 on the Threat Intelligence process that professionals use, primarily to counteract the widespread unprofessional analysis we are seeing on ICS events. There are confidence levels, standards of evidence, alternate theory consideration and a number of other things that I’m not qualified to write about. The key point is there is a proven way to analyze an event and present the results that is largely ignored where almost pure speculation can be presented as fact in an article and treated as fact by the community. Future articles and presentations repeat the speculation as fact and in some cases even the President of the United States is adding it to a speech on why you need cyber security.
The problem is that Robert teaches for SANS, and the SANS courses and procedures didn’t line up with the S4x16 Training Day needs. We were in a situation where SANS, Robert and Digital Bond all wanted it to happen, but SANS and ourselves couldn’t find a way to compromise. I was fortunate enough to sit at a table many times with Ernie when I was being stubborn or dogmatic, and Ernie would softly say something like “C’mon Dale, it isn’t that hard. Just give a little and we can make some progress”.
So when the SANS ICS team suggested that a half-day course with half of the registration fee going to the Ernie Rakaczky Scholarship Fund, it made me smile and say yes. So $200 of the $400 registration fee for Robert Lee’s Threat Intelligence in an ICS Active Defense will go to the Ernie Fund.
For those of you new to ICS Security, Ernie Rakaczky was one of the real pioneers in the field and a heck of a nice guy. He was very active in the ICS security community through ISA99, security conferences and a variety of other activities. He was always looking for a pragmatic solution and very inclusive, helping newcomers to the field get involved and contribute. Great job by SANS to put together this Scholarship Fund and ICS Security Lifetime Achievement Award to honor Ernie.