Decentralization: Mo' Systems, Mo' Bridges, Mo' Comms, ... Mo' Problems?
12-09, 14:50–15:35 (Europe/London), Track 2

Over the last few years, decentralization has become an ever larger talking point. Behind the snake oil-ish veneer of many decentralization projects - as well as the significant increase in bad actors, greed and malice - still resides a foundational concept of the Internet: "Giving people the ability to do things with more freedom".

I want to address the big question of "Is decentralization a good thing?", and consider how it manifests nowadays, what the major issues with it are, and how it makes our lives as security professionals just "a little more complicated".

Spoilers: The answer is "it depends".

The world has recently seen several pushes for the decentralization of various core aspects of our lives, be it finance, social networks, the communication of information among many others. Decentralization is a means to build an Internet that does not rely as much on big corporations and governments.

But beyond many big and empty promises, we have to ask ourselves "Is decentralization a good thing?".

Although certain projects - such as those which make the Fediverse - are a major push towards a democratic and user-controlled internet, we still regularly see Discord instances being used as wikis and filehosting, IPFS being used for file storage, cryptocurrencies being used for money loss and fraud, and more fun things (/s).

As people with an interest - professional or not - in cybersecurity and tech in general, we have to ask ourselves how much this makes our lives more complicated and how we can adjust to all these fast-paced changes... because we're already well behind the bend... and maybe we should be just a little more worried.

Maya edits text files, throws some of them at interpreters and compilers, with the objective of either breaking things or fixing things... but you can't really be sure until it happens.

They are a cybersecurity practitioner with interest in application security as well as a software engineer, and a life-long student (just not in academia anymore... thankfully).

On the side, she helps out with communities, likes to build events and help people get their feet wet in this field we call "cybersecurity".