Posted by Virus Bulletin on Jan 30, 2015
No, it doesn't have to be about malware and no, it doesn't have to be deeply technical either!
We've had some excellent presentations at the VB conference in recent years, and we are never short of high-quality submissions to fill the schedule. Nevertheless, we're always on the look out for new speakers and new content. To help anyone who's unfamiliar with the VB conference, we've prepared a list of answers to some frequently asked questions about the event.
Do the papers have to be about malware?
No, not at all. Once upon a time, the Virus Bulletin conference was indeed 'the anti-virus conference' but, along with the rest of the industry, our focus has broadened to focus on all aspects of security: from malware to mobile threats and from hacking to network security. The call for papers gives an extensive (though not exhaustive) list of suggested topics.
You don't even have to believe that anti-virus is the way to tackle security issues: one of the things that makes this conference so great is that delegates often have opposing opinions. (No wonder some of them can be found in the hotel bar until very late, explaining why their view is the right one.)
Who attends the conference?
More than 400 security experts from all over the world. Many have a job title that includes the word 'researcher', and these people usually aren't afraid of line after line of assembly code, but many others are less technically inclined. The conference programme will consist of a mix of technical and less-technical papers.
Are there any papers or presentations from previous conferences that I can look at to get an idea of the content that is usually presented?
Have a look at last year's programme. We have uploaded many of the papers to our website and videos of the presentations to our YouTube channel (click on each title to see links to the respective papers and videos).
My paper doesn't fit into any of the six categories listed on the call for papers, is that a problem?
No, not at all. The categories are designed to help us with the selection process and to ensure that the final programme will cover a broad range of topics. We understand that not all papers easily fit into one of the six categories. If yours doesn't, just choose the one that seems most appropriate. We will adjust the stream if necessary (and, indeed, we reserve the right to assign papers to different streams).
If I submit a paper, can I be certain of a speaker's slot?
No! In recent years, we have had around three times as many submissions as speakers' slots and we have no reason to believe that things will be different this year. Do bear this in mind when writing your abstract: you really do have to convince the selection committee that your paper is going to be better than at least two-thirds of the others!
Who selects the papers?
A committee consisting of the members of VB's advisory board together with a number of other industry members who have regularly attended the conference in recent years. The final decision on which papers are selected lies with Virus Bulletin.
My company has developed a brilliant new technology. Can I present a paper about it?
We always like it when new technologies are presented. However, do keep in mind that this is not a marketing conference. Make sure your abstract explains why the technology will be beneficial to the security community. And, unless absolutely necessary, don't mention a company name in the abstract.
Do you have any tips on how to write a good abstract?
The members of the selection committee will have to judge around 150 papers. Make sure your abstract is clear and well-written, yet doesn't read like a marketing pitch.
It might be useful to explain why you think the topic of your paper is relevant to the security community today, but make sure the abstract is self-contained: people don't have the time to follow links or references. There is no need to include your CV and say how brilliant a speaker you are — or even to mention your name.
Can I submit a paper with someone else?
Sure! We encourage collaboration both between colleagues within the same organisation and between those from different organisations — in fact, in the past we've had some great joint presentations from researchers working at competitor companies.
Can I include a demonstration as part of my presentation?
Yes. Should you have any questions about the technical feasibility of what you want to do during your presentation, please don't hesitate to contact us (email email@example.com).
What will I need to do if my paper gets accepted?
First, we will ask you to confirm that you can come and present the paper in Prague. Remember, you will almost certainly need approval for the travel and accommodation expenses from your budget holder, you may need to check with your firm's legal department if your topic is sensitive, and please do make sure that the dates don't clash with any important personal events or festivities.
We will also ask you to send us a full, written paper by 8 June. The papers (which will be published in the Conference Proceedings) are a very important part of the conference, as they provide a detailed back-up of the material presented at the event — in many cases, the written papers will be able to provide information in greater depth than is possible in a 30-minute presentation, and many speakers find it useful to refer the audience to their paper in order to save time going over details in the presentation.
Papers are edited in house for style, grammar and consistency, and we will send you an edited version of the paper for approval prior to its publication.
At the event itself, you will be required to give a 30-minute presentation to delegates.
You do not need to send us your presentation itself in advance and of course, you're more than welcome (encouraged, in fact!) to update your presentation right up to the last minute in order to refer to the latest developments.
Will my paper and the video recording of my presentation be made available to the public?
We intend to make papers and recordings of presentations available to the public after the conference, but we will seek your permission first.
What if I discover something really exciting after the submission deadline has passed?
The deadline is strict. However, as in previous years, we will reserve a small section of the programme for 'last-minute papers' dealing with up-to-the-minute topics. A separate call for papers for these speaking slots will open in the summer.
Is the Virus Bulletin conference a trade show?
No. We have a small exhibition area and people are known sometimes to 'do business' at the conference, but the main focus is on the conference.
The small size of the exhibition area actually makes it an excellent opportunity to present your company and its technology to the conference delegates. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire about sponsorship and exhibition opportunities.
Some of the research I am presenting is to be kept strictly confidential. Can I include it in the abstract?
It would be best to mention the confidential nature of the material in the abstract - if in doubt, please contact us (email email@example.com) and we'll be happy to discuss the best way to proceed.
I have another idea that will be great for the conference. Do you want to hear about it?
Sure, please let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will there be press attending the conference?
The conference is usually attended by a small number of specialist IT industry journalists and the conference tends to be covered even by journalists who aren't attending. If you are a journalist and want to apply for a press pass, please contact us (email email@example.com).
OK, I want to submit an abstract. How do I do it?
Please use the abstract submission page and don't forget the deadline of 13 March! We look forward to receiving your abstract — and hopefully to seeing you in Prague!