This page (hopefully) contains some useful information for conference organizers who wish to invite me to speak at their event, such as the current biography & photo to be used for the conference page, as well as a few requirements and constrains.
Joanna Rutkowska is a founder of Invisible Things Lab and the Qubes OS project, which she has been leading since its inception in 2010. Prior to that she has been focusing on system-level offensive security research. Together with her team at ITL, she has presented numerous attacks on virtualization systems and Intel security technologies, including the famous series of exploits against the Intel Trusted Execution Technology (TXT), the still-only-one software attack demonstrating Intel VT-d escape, and also supervised her team with the pioneering research on breaking into the Intel vPro BIOS and AMT/MT technology. She is also known for writing Blue Pill, the first hardware virtualization-based rootkit, introducing Evil Maid attack, and for her prior work on kernel-mode malware for Windows and Linux in the first half of the 2000s. She proudly holds 0 (zero) patents.
Feel free to use this photo. This photo is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY-SA).
In most cases I’d expect a speaking honorarium. I’m getting a large number of invitations to speak, which I appreciate, but if I was to accept all of them I would have very little time to do other things, such as… the actual work, or even living my after-work life, which I also enjoy much!
Please note that, over the last 10+ years, I’ve been regularly making significant amount of my work available for everybody for free (as in beer, and as in freedom). This is because I believe ideas and knowledge should be freely disseminated. But I think it’s also fair for me to expect a speaking honorarium when I’m asked to put an additional effort required for travel and preparations, as well as time sacrifice.
In case of very special events (1-3 in a year) I might make an exception, but these would have to be really special. I know that for every organizer their own event is the most special one, but I ask you to try to look at this from my perspective.
My current speaking honorarium is 8,000 EUR, excluding travel and accommodation. I expect this honorarium to be wired at least 2 weeks in advance before the start of an event. Admittedly this amount is selected so that I could keep my conference traveling at a manageable level.
Please note that, unlike many popular conference speakers, I’m not trying to be especially entertaining for the audience, and generally prefer to talk about hard challenges or problems, or interesting technical matters, rather than performing an Amway-like show. Hire me at your own risk, in other words ;)
Other requirements & constrains
For any flight segment which requires more than 4 hours on a plane, I would require a business class ticket. There is absolutely no exception from this rule, sorry.
I’m a vegan. Please make sure that the hotel I would be staying at offers vegan breakfast. Also, in case you wanted me to attend any of the conference-organized dinners or other meals (including lunches), please also assure I would be able to get vegan meals. Please note that vegan food is more than just “salads”, and that I’m unable to function eating lettuce only.
As a matter of principle, I don’t travel to countries whose official laws are in stark contrast with my personal believes and values. This includes e.g. all the countries that discriminate against women’s rights by law (such as most of the Arabic countries), de-legalize love (such as - incredible and sad to believe - Russia today), or otherwise limit people’s freedom in some unacceptable way. To be clear: it is absolutely irrelevant whether I personally would be subject to any risk by such discriminatory laws or not.
Tips & Tricks
Generally I’m not interested in chit-chat. I wish people didn’t perceive it as arrogance…
Remember I’m not an English native speaker. While I might be fluent discussing technology and some philosophical themes, I might be lacking cultural context on many other topics, especially related to (American) television shows, pop culture, etc. Observe that I might not be interested in actually learning this context. Also see point #1.
I chose to be vegan, entirely on ethical grounds. I have not been forced by any medical condition to be one. Thus don’t ask if I can eat this or that – I certainly can, just might have chosen not to. Also I’m not part of any doctrine or sect with regards to diet, so asking if I may eat something is even more inappropriate.
Please don’t ask me “how did you start with computers and security” – as you might imagine I have been asked this question about 1 million of times already, and so I hardly enjoy repeating the answer yet one more time. There are certainly more interesting topics to discuss! Also see point #1.
Please don’t ask me how do I like the place I’m just visiting – if I liked it I would sure to mention it by myself. Also see point #1.
Don’t make it look like I’m being invited to speak because I’m a woman. In that case I will likely turn down your invitation.
My name is pronounced: root-kov-skea
Thanks for your understanding!