2020 Wrap Up

2020 is finally over! How lucky we are to see the day (no seriously, really grateful, could have been a lot worse). Not that we’re out of the woods yet, but hopefully 2021 is a lot brighter for a lot of people.

The year didn’t start off easy in Australia with the fires that caused most of the country to be blanketed in smoke and a lot of people severely affected by the disastrous conditions. Not long after that we were all in lockdown due to the pandemic and working from home with kids around. Lots of people this year had it really tough, and well done for making it through. Even those that had it easy had it hard.

Thanks to everyone for reading and sharing my work. Thanks also to those that have written articles that make this site possible; without others sharing their work this site wouldn’t exist.

Special thanks again to Lodrina who helped out for the first half of the year. She made things a lot easier as expected, but stepped back from the project to focus on her myriad of other projects (including officially becoming a SANS Certified Instructor woo!).

Overall, with everything that’s happened this year with COVID, as well as professionally, and personally I’ve had to evaluate some things and that’s why I moved to just sharing the links out each week. I do like writing the summaries because it forces me to do more than just a quick skim of an article, but I went from culling things down to around 100 articles a week, to easily getting over 200 each week.

It was super difficult to skim through all of them, let alone reading them all indepth enough to write a summary. Eventually, along with everything else happening, something had to give. I haven’t seen too much of a dip in readership and no one has actively complained, so there’s that at least 🙂

Site trends

Views and viewers were about the same as last year, a few less viewers, but a few more people; Almost 125k views across 38k visitors.

The most popularly clicked links (excluding Medium, and Youtube) went to Cellebrite, Hacking Articles, and Elcomsoft. That being said, the most successful individual pages across the board had around 100 clicks each, so the more you post the more likely you get into the overall popularly clicked links.

This year had a lot of ups and downs but we did see a lot of virtual conferences, as well as CTFs towards the end of the year. Without COVID I would have missed the SANS DFIR Summit as I wasn’t able to travel then. This way I got to sit in on some great talks and chat with people virtually!

A lot of new people came into blogging, and a lot of others kept up putting some amazing content. I’m not sure if the influx of additional links every week was because people were able to post more consistently, or I was finding new or previously unknown to me posts. Either way, lots of new content for people to read and learn from.

What Happened With Me?

Last year I said I had to slow down a bit due to the newborn; well, two is significantly more amazing and exhausting as you would imagine. Having just one kid during lockdown was a challenge, so thankfully Australia was on the up by the time our second came around. That made things a lot easier as we didn’t have to try entertain the little ones alone and could go outside! Overall my wife has done an amazing job supporting me with all the things I spend my time on, and continues to be an amazing mum.

I’m still working on the whole “finishing existing projects without starting hundreds more”; it’s hard work not chasing the new shiny. Speaking of finishing things, we finalised the first official version of our SANS FOR308 Digital Forensics Essentials class. Going through the Beta process is tough; since you get to see the class in action and make changes as you go. I got to sit in on both beta classes being taught by my co-authors despite them being on the other side of the world. The class is now live though! That was an exhausting process.

Otherwise I taught and TA’d for SANS (including my first FOR500 run!), and got a few classes already in line for next year with a few more to add.

Professionally, I got a bit more responsibility at CyberCX, and worked on some interesting cases and am still learning a lot. Still got a lot left to learn, and a few fun things in the works I hope to get done in the next year.

What’s next?

There’s a few things in the pipeline but mostly more of the same. I don’t think it’ll be likely that the site returns to what it was this time last year. It’s still a lot of hours every weekend getting things together and I don’t see that slowing down.

Overall there’s not a huge amount on the agenda for next year. I have a few goals that I’d like to word towards, and I’m going to be trying to make a conscious effort to stay (get?) healthy and spend lots of time playing with Play-doh and read books with the little ones.

I hope people continue to share and support each other. We have a fantastic community and will continue to do by keeping on being as welcoming and helpful as we are.

I’ve got the podcast to record, hopefully before signing off for the year, but thanks to everyone for their continued support 🙂

Happy new year!

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