DEF CON — Las Vegas — Halls filled with hackers lined up for hours for his or her probability to hone their expertise on the most recent tech, helped alongside by a volunteer military of so-called “goons” — it was a hopeful place to be final weekend throughout DEF CON 30.
Everybody wore masks so even the immunocompromised might take part. There was a development towards specializing in utilizing hacker powers to guard the inhabitants from utility breaches, sensible automotive accidents, misinformation, and extra. Giving the whole convention its reputational edge had been rooms buzzing with info and the sort of immediacy and efficiency that made it really feel nearly subversive — punk rock, even.
Listed here are just some of the highlights Darkish Studying occurred to search out among the many organized chaos that was DEF CON 30.
1. Merch Insanity
The longest traces, by many hours, had been these to get the most recent DEF CON-branded merchandise. Whereas some used the time to refuel with snacks, others put a little bit extra thought into the break within the motion. Take Brad Lindsley, who made his personal “Linecon Bag” with a mounted gaming display screen and controllers for 4 gamers.
“I used to be ready in line for hours at one other DEF CON and I used to be eager about what I’d need to do in line,” he instructed Darkish Studying.
2. IoT Village
DEF CON 30 hackers additionally had the choice to ply their expertise on dozens of Web of Issues (IoT) gadgets, together with the Emergency Broadcast System and a Globecomm satellite tv for pc system, due to the work of TIVO Trevor and the remainder of the crew, who spent the final 90 days constructing the IoT widespread management framework (CCF).
Trevor stated that this yr the IoT Village made the choice to shift its emphasis due to the shifting risk panorama that now focuses on infrastructure and different IoT gadgets.
“We have moved away from SOHO (small workplaces/residence workplaces) to IoT this yr,” he instructed Darkish Studying.
3. Sink This Battleship
There have been too many contests happening throughout DEF CON 30 to depend. One massive one was a model of Seize the Flag known as “Can You Sink the Ship?” placed on by Fathom5, which challenged groups of hackers to carry down their ship coaching module. The kickoff was preceded by quite a lot of guidelines laid out by Fathom5 CTO David Burke, who included an instruction to not tinker with the hoses beneath: “Please do not spray hydraulic fluid in all places across the room.”
4. Different Challenges Accepted
Different, much less elaborate contests included a group of Seize the Flag variations, Crimson Staff challenges, and even a DEF CON Scavenger Hunt.
5. The Voting Village
Famous voting-machine researcher Harri Hursti, representing the Election Integrity Basis, introduced in a group of voting machines presently in use throughout the US for hackers and conspiracy theorists alike to check out and problem their safety.
Darkish Studying bumped into a gaggle of hackers giving one of many US voting machines a cautious look. Requested in the event that they thought they may have the ability to crack into it, one of many group responded, “I do not know if we are able to, however it’s enjoyable factor to play with.”
6. The Signage
Even the signage unfold out round DEF CON 30 was flair-forward, with an array of intelligent quips, dazzling digital renderings, and simply straight-up artwork. Right here is simply the tiniest style of what was on show.
7. Mind Hacking & Misinformation
A complete village at this yr’s DEF CON was devoted to misinformation. With phishing and social engineering nonetheless driving so many profitable cyberattacks, Dr. Matthew Canham of Past Layer 7 gave a presentation on cognitive safety, which basically means blocking attackers from compromising the mind itself. From optical illusions to situations like Cambridge Analytica’s follow of constructing psychographic profiles to focus on victims, mind hacks are right here and getting extra subtle, in accordance with Dr. Canham.
8. The Traditions
This yr was Michael Bargury’s debut on the DEF CON stage. That meant that earlier than he kicked off his presentation about codeless malware, the CTO and cofounder of Zenity (and Darkish Studying columnist) engaged in a DEF CON custom… he did a shot, alongside together with his “goon” who gave the introduction. After a number of seconds and only one wince whereas the liquor went down, Bargury was formally inaugurated into the DEF CON speaker’s membership and able to go.