It’s that time of the year again when hackers of all types get together for their annual celebration of discoveries made throughout the year. We call this DefCon, and every year, new exploits in software and hardware are released to the public.
I had the opportunity to attend the conference for my sixth year there (for the 15 years it’s been held now) along with more than 8,000 other hackers at the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Presentations were given on about 120 different subjects ranging from drive reanimation to international information warfare. More than $15,000 was raised to support the EFF. Breakout sessions were held for two full days on both wireless WEP and WPA cracking as well as lock picking.
Contests are also held every year including the infamous Capture the Flag contest designed to find the best team of network and server security gurus that runs continuously from the beginning of the conference to the very end. Hacker Jeopardy provides a test of knowledge of both technical details as well as political and related events. More than 10 other contests are also run including WarDriving, Lock Picking, DefconBots (build an automated robot to accomplish a specific task in the shortest amount of time possible), and a Mystery Box Challenge (you have no clue what you’re up against until the competition starts).
Highlights from this year’s conference included:
- High-Security Medeco M3 Locks Broken
- Dateline NBC reporter Michelle Madigan ousted after attempting an Undercover Report
- MySpace Exploited (as well as many other trusted sites)
- Federal Agents get Married
- SCADA Systems Hacked (systems used for industrial infrastructure such as water treatment plants)