3 Reasons I Believe In #CMHSecLunch And Its Mission

I get asked quite often about why I started CMHSecLunch and what the goals behind it are. I wanted to take a moment and discuss it on the blog.

First, if you aren’t a security person in Columbus, Ohio, you might not have heard of the event. Here are the details about it.

Every month, on the second Thursday, my team loosely organizes a simple lunch meet up at one of the local mall foodcourts. It is free, open to all – including non-security folks, kids and interested parties. There is usually a topic like “physical security”, “supply chain”, “threat intelligence”, “pen-testing”, etc. We also usually have something for people to fiddle with while they talk, like locks and lock picks, Legos, smart bits, cards and readers, etc. We find that having something to play with physically seems to help the attendees converse more easily.

The mission of CMHSecLunch was to emulate the “hallway conversations” part of security conferences, and to open up the security community to even larger groups of folks that may be interested, but may not have an easy way to get involved. I wanted it to be less formal than something like an ISSA/ISACA event, be free, loose in organization and really help people make personal connections with each other and the community at large.

The mission started in roughly 2012, and while we took a couple of breaks, is over 4 years old. Sure, there a lot of other events and even a couple of knock off lunches – emulation is a compliment 🙂 – but those usually include some formal presentation, vendor sponsor pitches or some other form of noise as the center of the event. I wanted to avoid all of that and put people at the center of the event. No vendor pitches, no one buys your lunch – so you don’t owe anyone anything either implicit or implied – and since it is in an open public space like a mall food court – there is no separation of infosec from the general public. Everyone can see, talk and ask questions without all of the speed bumps and smoke/mirrors and sense of separation sometimes associated with the infosec community. We’ve had middle school kids, college students, IT folks, janitors at the mall, infosec practitioners, managers and executives join us, engage and ask questions.

So, the #1 reason that I support CMHSecLunch is just that – the open nature and open discussion that comes from it. Thus far, nearly everyone who sits down with us at these events leaves their ego at home or in their car. We’ve had honest discussions from technical to personal, jokes and explanations, stories and anecdotes and even some project launches. Overall, the sense of openness and community has been one of the most amazing parts of my career. Sometimes there are 3 people, sometimes 30 – but I always leave with a smile and a renewed sense of community.

The second reason I believe in CMHSecLunch is that I have seen it bring new talent and fresh energy to the community. People have personally told me that because it was an open, public space and there was nothing expected, that they had the courage to finally approach infosec folks. Many times, people are nervous that they may not fit in, or have the skill set or knowledge of security practitioners at the more focused meetings. They may not have the management or budget support to go to conferences, ISSA/ISACA/OWASP events or even know that they exist. But a lot of people are on Twitter. A lot of people aren’t nervous to go to a mall food court. A lot of people can afford to invest in a fast food or brown bag lunch to get to know people to get started. That’s the crucial ingredient – to make it easy for new folks to join and engage. We need them. The community desperately needs new talent, fresh ideas and new resources that aren’t already locked into the echo chamber of infosec. In fact, I would say new ideas and new talent will make or break infosec over the next 10 years. I believe CMHSecLunch is an easier way for those new people to get started.

Lastly, I love bringing security discussions out of closed business conference rooms and into the mall. I absolutely get thrilled when people around us ask about lock picking or smart bits or whatever we are playing with. I love it when people lean in to listen about hacking or about how credential theft works. We have seen so many surrounding tables clearly listening in – that I have made it a habit to simply ask them to join us and explain the mission. It’s a beautiful thing. Remove the smoke, mirrors and mysticism of infosec – and everyday people are suddenly interested again. They become a little less apathetic, a little less distant and a lot more aware. Isn’t that what we have always asked for as a community? Didn’t we always want everyday users to be more engaged, more aware and more security capable? I truly believe that it will take bringing the public into the fold to make that happen. I believe that events like CMHSecLunch – loosely organized, free, open to the public, held in common public locations and developed on a spirit of inclusion, just might be a way forward. Mostly, I believe in the open, honest and caring attitudes of people, regardless of what community they believe themselves to be a part of. Thus, I believe in CMHSecLunch and our mission…

Wanna give it a try? If you are around central Ohio, you can find the schedule, locations and times here. Want to start your own event, in your area? Ping me on Twitter (@lbhuston) and I’ll be happy to discuss what I did to promote it, and how I would go about it. If I can help you get a group started, I will. That’s it. That’s why I believe. I hope you will believe too… 

Next CMHSecLunch is Monday, November 9th

Just a heads up that the next CMHSecLunch is scheduled for Monday, November 9th at Tuttle Mall food court.

As always, the games begin at 11:30am and continue to around 1pm. Admission is FREE and everyone is welcome. Bring a friend!

Come by, hang out, have some food and great conversation. Talk about the threats and issues your team is facing and hear what others in the community have to say on the topic. It’s like hallway conversations at security conferences, without the travel, con-flu and noise.

Check it out and see you there! 

CMHSecLunch is Monday Oct 12

Remember: ‪#‎CMHSecLunch‬ is tomorrow. 11:30, Polaris.

Come out and hang with some of your friends. This free form event is open to the public and often includes hacking stuff, lock picking, deep technical discussions, projects, etc.

Check it out at the link below & bring a friend!  



CMHSecLunch is July 14th @ Tuttle Mall

Just a quick reminder to save the date for CMHSecLunch this month. It is July 14th at 11:30am at the Tuttle Mall Food Court. We are usually pretty close to the giant germ ball fountain, and the Tuttle event is usually pretty well attended. 

Come out and beat the summer heat, hang out, meet old and new friends and have some food.

We hope to see you there! 

As always, you can RSVP if desired (not needed) or learn more by clicking here. 

Bring a friend, attendance is FREE and open to everyone!

CMHSecLunch is Monday 4/14/14

Just a reminder that #CMHSecLunch is Monday, 4/14/14 from 11:30 to 1 at the North Market.

Come out and hang with friends, both old and new. The whole gang will be there, so spend some time.

As always, you can read more about the event, tell us you’re coming or see the schedule here.

Hope to see you there. Bring a buddy or at least a smile! 🙂 

CMHSecLunch for March is 3/10/14


March’s CMHSecLunch is scheduled for March 10, 2014. The time is 11:30 to 1pm Eastern. The location this month is the Tuttle Mall food court. We usually meet pretty close to the middle of the place, but a bit away from the giant germ ball fountain. 🙂

I will not personally be able to attend this month, but will be back in full swing for the April edition. So enjoy this month without me and I we can break bread together in a short while.

As usual, you can register for the event (not needed), and find more details here. CMHSecLunch is open to all, free to attend and has been a tradition now in the security community for a couple of years. So, grab a friend, have some food and engage in some great conversation. We can’t wait to see you! 

January CMHSecLunch is Monday (1/13)

Just a reminder that Monday’s CMHSecLunch is this Monday (1/13/14) at 11:30am Eastern at the Easton Mall food court. Come on out and see your friends. 

If you are unable to attend in person, and you would like to take part in the Google Hangout, bring your lunch to your laptop and ping me (lbhuston (at) gmail -dot- com) or send me a Twitter message at @lbhuston and I will add you. Hope to see you then! 

As always, you can learn more and RSVP (not required, but appreciated) here. 

CMHSecLunch is Monday & a Quick Question

Just a reminder that CMHSecLunch is Monday, December 9th at North Market. The party starts at 11:30am Eastern and will run through about 1pm Eastern. Come on out and hang with us! 

We usually eat upstairs on the side nearest High Street and the end near the elevator. Look for a group of security geeks hanging out in that area and sit down for a snack and a chat.

Hope to see you then!

And now for the quick question. What would you think of also having a webex during the same period of time for those who are unable to attend physically or who are friends who have moved away? If that would interest you and you might enjoy it, drop me a line on Twitter and let me know (@lbhuston). I am considering this, but I won’t pouch forward unless at least 10 people ping me on Twitter or some other way. 

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you on the 9th!

** You can find out more about the event or RSVP by visiting our eventbrite site here

CMHSecLunch for December is the 9th

Just a reminder that the CMHSecLunch for December will be on the 9th at North Market. As always, admission is free and everyone is welcome. Come on out and see your friends.

As usual, to RSVP and let others know you are attending, or to view more information about the event, you can visit the eventbrite site here.

See you there! Or, on Twitter with the hashtag #CMHSecLunch if you can’t make it or are out of the Columbus area. The more the merrier!

CMHSecLunch is Monday, November 11th

Mark your calendars now!!!!

The next CMHSecLunch is Monday, November 11th at the Tuttle Mall food court! Starts at 11:30 and runs to about 1 PM.

Come out and see your old friends, make some new ones and generally have a little InfoSec FUN!!!!!!

This is even a great food court, with COFFEE and ICE CREAM!!!! Fun and dessert!!!! mmmmmmmmmm 🙂

Sign up here, or just drop by and surprise us all! 🙂 

See ya then!