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Disobey: A unique CyberSec experience

Disobey, what is all the hype about?

You may have heard of Disobey in the past few months, especially in February when the event occurred.  If you don’t know what Disobey is, you are in the same place I was just a little over a year ago. I was in an InfoSec team meeting at work where one of my colleagues was all hyped about this “Disobey”, then I came across a lot of publications on LinkedIn on the subject and I decided that I had to discover by myself what this event was and why it was so popular. 2023 was already sold out when I heard of it, but I decided that I would not miss this year’s edition. 

So this year came, and I had the chance to enroll quickly enough to the volunteer crew of the event to experience Disobey for the first time as a part of the crew. As a Women4Cyber volunteer I decided to write an article about it and bring to you some answers to the questions I had in my mind before attending. 

So, what is Disobey and what is it about? 

It is the biggest cybersecurity event in Finland, maybe in the Nordics. The first edition was held in 2015 and has brought hackers together once a year ever since (except for the covid years, sadly). The goal of the event is basically to share information, encourage creativity, train skills and spend time with old and new like-minded people. Even if the event is considered a hacker event, you do not need to be tech savvy to attend, interest towards cyber security is largely enough and there is no doubt you will find like-minded people there and interesting activities to do or keynotes to listen to. 

An event from the community for the community open to all

Disobey is primarily an event built by the community for the community and it can be felt everywhere on site, there are few places where we can feel so at home starting from the first visit.  As a woman in a heavily male-dominated field it may be hard at times to feel welcomed and I was very happy to see and feel that it was not an issue at this event. Everyone was welcome no matter the background, the gender or the years in the field. All people were there for their common interest in cybersecurity and eagerness to share and learn, from visitors to organizers, from newbies to seniors, from hackers to CISOs. The variety of people united around this common interest makes the event so wholesome and it is no wonder that it gets sold out so quickly. It was for many of us a unique way to network and get new contacts and friends in the cybersecurity community.  

How to spend time during the event?

Disobey lasts two days and there is plenty to do during this time depending on your interests and your own goal for the event. If you’re searching to put your hacking skills to the test, participating in the CTF with a team of your own may be the thing for you. If your goal is mainly to network and meet new people, the places to go may be the community village or the different enterprise booths on site. These are also the places to go if you are on a sticker hunt for your laptop or other devices! 

This year, community village was also the best place for Disobey newbies as on both days the Disobey 101 tour started there with a goal to familiarize with the premises and hear more about the people behind the event. In the community village you also had the opportunity to participate in several activities organized by Finnish CitySec communities like quizzes on cybersecurity or guidance on finding your next step in your cyber careers. Cybersecurity newcomers were also thought of and NCSC-FI booth provided continuous mentoring on their booth on Friday. Women4Cyber Finland were also newcomers to the event as an organization and it was the first edition where W4CFI participated with their own booth in the community village, bringing more women-oriented content to the event.  

And as many know, in cybersecurity creativity is sometimes the key to success, you could get in touch with your inner artist by contributing to the community art by Kybersanasto on Saturday or find your inner unicorn by letting some glitter in your life (and face) at Helsec’s


If your goal for the event was to really learn

by doing, throughout the weekend there were lots of workshops to improve your skills by acting, from hacking activities to building security training programs. If the workshops went badly on top of other things you had planned, you could attend the continuous activities to learn lockpicking or Bluetooth hacking for example.

And last but not least,  there were a lot of insightful speeches from cybersecurity professionals on various topics for all like-minded people, from information security in Kela to more technical speeches on hackings and lessons learned.  

What did the experience bring?

Sometimes it is hard to find the right words to express how much an experience gave, this is one of these situations. Before attending the event I came across a lot of publications on LinkedIn about what the event meant for visitors and some of them even changed their career paths after attending as they found a newly found passion for cybersecurity and they wanted to bring their own contribution to it. 

In my case, the experience only enhanced my passion for cybersecurity and the burning feeling in my heart to teach, learn and discover new aspects of this amazing and important field. Disobey worked as a reassurance that I found my path, that cybersecurity really is diverse and that everyone has their place there and it does not even take much to find it. 

An experience is, however, always personal, so I would say the best way for you to know what the event can bring is to experience it yourself!


Text: Varpu Huhtinen, W4CFI Articles


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