SAINTCON FAQ

SAINTCON is not like most other conferences. It is typical for people to wonder about the various aspects of what we do at the conference.  This FAQ tries to answer the most common questions we get about the conference.

What is SAINTCON?

SAINTCON is the annual cyber-security conference presented by the Utah Security Advisory and Incident Network Team (“UtahSAINT”).

This event is an IT and Cyber-Security Professionals conference with a hard focus on cyber-security topics.

The conference began in 2001 and has been held throughout the State of Utah.  Prior to 2013, this event was called the UtahSAINT Conference, but was renamed to be more recognizable and could flourish on its own.

What happens at SAINTCON?

Most people come to listen to the Presentations and Trainings, but year by year we continue to bring more and more elements into the conference. While the presentations are great, we provide a rich experience that allows attendees to focus on things that interest them the most.

Games and Contests are a major part of SAINTCON. Many people spend their entire time at the conference (and in their hotels) playing the Hackers Challenge game. Hackers Challenge was originally used to provide “Something else to do” during less interesting presentations, but has become a serious and high skills driven game that the attendees love to play.

Where will SAINTCON be held this year?

SAINTCON will be held at the
Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo, Utah. 

We expect to continue our relationship with this site until outgrow the venue.

Is SAINTCON for State Government entities only?

No!

SAINTCON has of course grown from a strong interaction from Public Education but is not limited to this mission. We continue to expand the conference to include private corporations and non-education entities. We feel that this strengthens our conference and the UtahSAINT Organization. SAINTCON is open to anyone and everyone who would like to attend.

We will always continue however to have an education focus in key areas, however Network Security does not differ significantly in application.

I’m not a Security Professional, should I attend SAINTCON?

Maybe…

SAINTCON is not just for IT professionals, but is for anyone who has an interest in cyber-security. If cyber-security, hacking, security research, or other similar things interest you, you will likely enjoy SAINTCON.

Will I get Hacked at SAINTCON?

Probably not!

We do a lot of security education at SAINTCON, so it may be only natural for someone to be super-excited and test a new skill against their network-connected friends.  This is discouraged, but cannot be completely controlled.

We recommend that you come to the conference with a certain level of paranoia and protect yourself and your devices appropriately by using VPNs, and other methods.

Is there an AGE LIMIT to attend SAINTCON?

No!

In fact we encourage you to bring younger attendees to SAINTCON. We have expanded this option in recent years, and have found that much of what we do and discuss is beneficial to High School students and younger. Student Groups are also welcome and if you contact us prior to registration, we can sometimes work out discounts on registration costs for groups of students.

POLICY:
All attendees younger than 18 years old, MUST be accompanied by an adult.

How many people can attend SAINTCON?

The growth of SAINTCON has been one of our biggest challenges.  With an all-volunteer-staff, we want to control growth of the conference to not out-pace our ability to have enough people involved to make it successful.

for 2022, we plan to allow 13-1500 people to attend the conference. 

Who makes money off SAINTCON?

Nobody…

SAINTCON is a labor of love and to this point nobody has ever made any money by being involved in the planning or execution of the event.  The planning committee only receives our gratitude and a couple of thank-you items and perks for their year-long-work.

Several years ago we started providing compensation for enhanced content providers for things like: Trainings, Keynotes, etc.  These honorariums are very reasonable and often barely cover the cost of their time.

SAINTCON is a non-profit endeavor, and we spend nearly every dollar we collect from registration on the event each year.  We usually end up with around $15-20k/yr of surplus that we retain in a budget for the next year startup costs, and to pay organization bills (storage, accounting, etc.).

How can I Speak or Train at SAINTCON?

You can submit a response to our Call for Papers. All entries are evaluated by the conference committee and those chosen are notified soon after the CFP closes.  CFP for SAINTCON is generally done in two phases:

  • Phase 1 – Open Call for anyone to submit.
  • Phase 2 – Finding presenters for content gaps.
Do I need to sign up or register for Trainings?

No, it’s first-come, first-served. As long as there’s a seat available and the session hasn’t reached the Trainer’s maximum, anyone is able to join the session.

How are you handling COVID-related issues?

UtahSAINT and SAINTCON are concerned about the health and well-being of our community.  We are critical-thinkers and tend to follow the science and recommendations from appropriate authorities.

The pandemic seems to be a never-ending thing, and we are all getting tired of making life adjustments around something we cannot see.

In the end, SAINTCON will only require safety precautions that are mandated by Federal, State, or Local authorities, and nothing more.

What are MiniBadges and why are they so popular?

Loosely defined, MiniBadges are small electronic-based components, usually approximately 1″ by 1″ square designed on a circuit-board.  MiniBadges are generally designed to plug into the SAINTCON Conference Badge for power and sometimes more.  The MiniBadge concept was the original brain-child of “zZq” and shared with the UtahSAINT Community.  Since the beginning, MiniBadge popularity has exploded with the average number of MiniBadges each year is well over the 15000.

Over the years, we have seen some incredibly creative designs, and many from individuals with little to no design experience.  Each year we are impressed to see how many new designs appear.  It is VERY common to now have ~5% of conference attendees bringing their own minibadges to SAINTCON to trade.

We highly encourage new-comers to check out and learn MiniBadge design skills.  It’s an extremely useful skill for the geeks in the world.  Minibadges can be super simple, or super complex.  We have seen minibadges with just 1 or 2 LEDs, to fully-functional computers designed to do various things.  Learning how to build them is not difficult, and we have several tutorials on YouTube to help you get started.

Basically the popularity of MiniBadges is not to different than Pokemon™ cards, Olympic pins, or other collectables.  Value is in the eye of the beholder.

What is Family Night?

More information about Family Night is available here

What should I bring, or not bring to SAINTCON?

That my friend, is a great question!

It is very common for attendees to bring a laptop capable of participating in the various trainings, presentations, and contests held during the conference.

A Soldering Iron is optional, but definitely something worth considering if you are staying in a hotel locally.  Please DO NOT bring your soldering irons to the conference venue, we will provide onsite irons.

I’m sure this list will grow!

How do I get on the wireless?

Connect to SAINTCON. The wireless password is “saintcon2022”

We’ll also have the eduroam network available.

How do I get involved in SAINTCON?

Involvement in SAINTCON is an organic thing.

Many of the people involved in the conference just seem to show up and start helping. Soon after, they realize what they have gotten themselves into, but by then it’s too late. These days however, we strive for a little more organization than we have in the past. To get involved all you need to do is be willing to help, and reach out to one of the members of the Conference Committee.

Our most formal process for getting involved begins with our Call for Volunteers.  See the calendar of events for signup dates.

When does Registration Open?

Registration for SAINTCON usually begins sometime in the first half of July.  Watch the website for more specific details.

Why do you no longer offer ticket discounts?

For many years, SAINTCON has offered discount tickets for qualifying groups or people.  This process has always been evaluated based on need, bulk, and other factors.

in 2021, we realized that the logistics involved in offering discounts created a logistical problem that was reaching a tipping point in time, resources, and coordination. 

So we decided from 2022 on, we will no longer provide discounts for normal registrations.

Along with this change, we have formalized two new programs which we believe address the majority of the discount needs.  These are the “Scholarship Program” and the “Student Group Program“.  With these two programs we hope to continue to provide for the needs of the community where finances are a major issue, and appreciate your understanding of our need to reduce logistical load on an all-volunteer administrative-team.