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Welcome to Las Vegas, home of the Defcon “Hacker” Conference

July 30, 2009

Defcon 17 is definitely underway.  It started with a bang for me.  My work laptop isn’t going anywhere near the Defcon conference so I brought a backup laptop with a generic install, patched, firewall enabled, anti-malware, bluetooth and wireless turned off, the IR receiver turned off, logging turned on.  (I even took a screen shot of the “normal processes” running on the laptop so I could monitor for anything extraordinary.)  And the laptop hard drive crashed on the airplane today.  So I spent a big part of the evening getting the laptop repaired, the OS restored and re-hardened, and I am back in business!

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I did attend three talks today:

  1. Hacking the Apple TV – this talk was about replacing the Apple TV default configuration with a suite of tools that provides much greater functionality such as web surfing, storage and viewing of non-DRM compliant media, and some network management tools.  I am not an Apple TV guy but the “hack” was basically “point n click” using an available usb thumb drive image downloadable from the net.
  2. Con Kung-Fu: Defending Yourself @ Defcon – this talk was about hardening your laptop so it can participate on the Defcon wireless network, perhaps the most hostile network in the world.  The speaker basically summarized by saying, use a spare laptop with no valuable or sensitive information, harden it, but at the end of Defcon consider it compromised!  I plan to connect to the wireless network using my spare laptop tomorrow and see what happens.  I also plan to pop a fictitious email account and see if my password is captured and displayed on the “wall of shame”.  (The wall of shame is a scrolling projected display of all userids and passwords captured during the Con)
  3. So You Got Arrested in Vegas… – this talk was presented by a criminal defense attorney from the Vegas area.  He outlined what is legal and what is a misdemeanor vs gross misdemeanor vs felony.  He basically warned the audience to drink and be merry but don’t drink and drive.  Prostitution is NOT legal in Vegas.  And vandalizing the hotel could result in felony burglary charges being added to your case.  And if you get caught with lock picking tools while you are inside a store that is supposed to be closed and locked, you will probably get charged for possession of burglary tools.

In case you aren’t quite sure yet, Defcon is not your typical corporate security conference!

Thanks for following the Blog as I write about my adventures here at Defcon 17.

– TrustCC

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