Welcome to the Network Archaeology track!
You have been placed into Network Archaeology as your Primary training. I (Neale) will be your primary instructor.
We expect you to bring a laptop. It should have Python 3.0+ installed. People who come with a working Linux installation are going to be able to progress more quickly. You can use whatever distribution you like (if you don't know what that means, use Ubuntu). You should have a C compiler installed and know how to open a terminal to get to a shell.
For those who like lists:
There is nothing in the course that will harm your computer. But if you prefer to bring Linux in a virtual machine, that's fine as well.
There may be things during the exercise (on Thursday and Friday) that could harm your computer if you aren't careful. We (the organizers) aren't planning any this year, but we can't make any promises about the other participants. Usually everybody's too busy trying to get points to bother messing with other peoples' stuff, but you should not bring anything on your laptop that you wouldn't want pasted on the conference room wall.
That bears repeating: don't bring anything on your laptop you (or someone else) considers sensitive.
My course runs differently from most courses you may have taken: you'll get a brief introduction and then you'll get to start immediately doing lab work. Instructors will wander around offering tips and advice as you progress through the labs, which have been carefully written to guide you through increasingly advanced concepts as you progress.
You probably won't make it through all the labs, and you may not go the same speed as other students. That's okay. We want you to work at your own pace, and everybody is going to come at different skill levels, so some students are going to zip through the earlier labs that others really have to work on.
We do expect you to spend some time trying things out and making mistakes. The mistakes you make at Cyber Fire will cost nothing other than your time, and having once made those mistakes, you will know not to try that approach again during a real work incident. Knowing which pitfalls to avoid and how to walk around them is a key factor in making incident responders "seasoned."
On Wednesday and Thursday, we'll get everybody from the different tracks back together to work on more puzzles designed to flex your newly-formed forensic muscles. Everybody will need to be on a team for this. If you already know some people coming to Cyber Fire, you are encouraged to form a team with them. We're planning a social event on Monday night to give everyone a chance to meet new people and form teams if they need to.
Feel free to email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions you have. I'll try to get back to you quickly, but please be patient, since we'll be busy getting ready for the event in the week preceding the event.
Thanks for reading, I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in Denver!