• Future of the Forensic 4:cast Awards

    Posted on June 10, 2018 by Lee Whitfield in News.

    Fear cripples us. It stops us from making decisions, leaving us in limbo. I have fears about the Forensic 4:cast Awards and, after 10 years of the awards, I’m ready to tackle those fears and improve them.

    I’m sure that SANS will release the video of the awards in due time and, when it does, you’ll notice a distinct difference between the announcing of some of the categories.

    Book of the year was received with a huge ovation, as was the investigator of the year. However, the categories for the products were somewhat muted. In one instance, I even had to remind the audience to applaud. That’s bad!

    In addition, I took 10 awards with me this year. These are awards that I pay for myself, awards where the community cares enough to place votes for you. I was able to hand out 4 of them. For another 2, someone was kind enough to pick them up and deliver them. That leaves me with 4 awards left. These are now sitting in a box at my house, unclaimed. One of the winning vendors had a booth at the summit so I was certain that they would be there to pick up the award, but they didn’t. I have no doubt that I’ll be asked to ship it to them in the coming days.

    This has three primary effects; 1) It pisses me off. 2) It makes it look like you don’t care about the awards (which pisses me off more). 3) This is most important, it makes for a really crappy awards show. When only 40% of the people stick around to pick up the awards, it just looks bad! The sad thing is that this is a pattern. It happens every single year.

    However, here’s where my fear kicks in. The vendors offer a huge opportunity to publicize the awards. You have probably noticed that between the months of January and June every email you receive from Magnet or Cellebrite include a note to nominate/vote for them in the upcoming awards. There’s posts and recognition posted to their respective websites and the same could be said for other vendors. If we retire these categories, does the publicity disappear too? This is my biggest fear. Without these vendors playing a central part in the awards, do they revoke their support? If so, what happens then?

    So, I’ve decided that, rather than remaining in indecision, changes need to be made to next year’s awards. I’ve already seen some great ideas from people in the field, but I want more. What awards do you want to see? Which awards do you want to retire? Can we combine categories that people care less about? All ideas are welcome and wanted! I want the awards to be successful every year, but I want them to be successful for the right reasons. So please let me know your ideas. Comment below, or send me an email to lee <at> forensic4cast.com. Viva la revolution!

3 Responsesso far.

  1. Lee,
    it looks like wrapping vendor categories into two or even a single one may be a nice move without hurting third-party ads. I am sure there still will be Magnet and Cellebrite among nominees anyway to advertise the award competition.

    So my suggestion would be:

    – leave Open Source category as it is

    – wrap all other product categories into two:
    1) Software product of the year
    2) Hardware product of the year

    – extend quantity of nominees for all awards from 3 to 5-6. Like Oscars, you know 🙂

  2. Ryan Benson says:

    I’d love to see some “Rookie of the Year” type awards to encourage people to try new things. Both newcomers to the field or more established examiners who start something new could be eligible. Maybe some kind of recognition of the best blog that started in the past year, or best new open source tool, etc.

  3. Pat Eller says:

    What about Digital Forensic Educator of the year.

    What about Digital Forensic Academic program of the year
    Get the schools involved which would reach a wide network and keep up with that support needed.

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