Toorcon Day 1

[12am] We hit the opening keynote by Cory Doctorow. He had some interesting things to say about patterns in eula agreements and the restriction of rights to enforce business models.

[Simple Nomad] followed up with his talk called ‘State of the Enemy State’ – his observations regarding government security, just how advanced real time encryption cracking probably is and predictions on some forthcoming laws and how they’ll affect the security industry. The most interesting one: encryption key escrow was enacted a couple weeks ago by Blair in the UK, and it’ll probably come to the US next.

The talk on the apple airport security flaw was canceled, so it was replaced by ‘lightning talks’. Think open mic night on the floor of a security conference. Johnny Cache opened it up with some observations about why the talk was canceled. He had to skirt around the issue to keep from getting in trouble, but he was definitely pissed.

There were a few others, but I’ll leave it there for now.

Onward to Toorcon

I’m waiting for my ride on the first leg of my trip to Toorcon. I’ll be there along with Eliot and Fabienne. Dan Kaminsky will be there presenting, so we’ll be having a major HAD get together. My local (tiny) airport actualy has wireless, tables and power readily available. Security will love me – I’ve got my usual tools (soldering iron, wire strippers, meter, etc) in my checked bag. (This is amusing – the security guy is doing laps through the metal detector to dial it in.)

[UPDATE: Eliot] Toorcon is my favorite conference. Have a look at some of the neat stuff we saw last year.

Toorcon slides update

The Toorcon website now has all of the presentation materials posted. I’ve updated all of our Toorcon posts with the appropriate links (the WEP frag attack has code). They’ve added some more photo galleries, too.

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Toorcon – closing

Toorcon was a really a wonderful experience. I met lots of readers and other interesting people in a very social environment. It’s really cheap and I would encourage you too attend next year.

I’ve posted the few photos I have to Flickr. While you are over there you might as well join the Hack-A-Day photo pool. Quinn’s photos are much better than mine; I didn’t have to haul around a Canon EOS D30 though. Pictures of me: one, two. The guys from EVDO-Coverage also have a photostream. They provided EVDO to hackers in need at the conference and will probably be sending me some fun hardware to play with.

I’ll be updating the posts with slides as soon as they get posted.

Once again: I’d like to thank the organizers, speakers, and Hack-A-Day readers for making the conference such a fun time. I hope to see everyone again at REcon, Shmoocon, and Toorcon next year.

That’s it for Toorcon coverage. Back to business as usual tomorrow.

Toorcon day 0 – Brain trust


I made it into San Diego in good time and have already seen a Sony W800 and the iPod nano so TC7 is off to a great start. I’ve met some really cool people. Here are some pictures to prove it (or at least show what the backs of hacker’s heads look like).

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HackRF, or playing from 30 MHz to 6 GHz


Up on Kickstarter, [Michael Ossmann] is launching the HackRF, an inordinately cheap, exceedingly capable software defined radio tool that’s small enough to lose in your laptop bag.

The HackRF was the subject of a lot of interest last time it was on Hackaday - the ability to receive up to 6GHz allows the HackRF to do a lot of very interesting things, including listening in on Bluetooth, WiFi, and 4G networks. Also, the ability to transmit on these frequencies means a lot of very interesting, and quite possibly slightly evil applications are open to anyone with a HackRF. Like the RTL-SDR dongles, the HackRF works with GNU Radio out of the box, meaning all those cool SDR hacks we’ve seen so far will work with this new, more powerful board.

Compared to the USB TV tuner cards that were so popular a year ago, the HackRF has 10 times the bandwidth, is able to receive up to 6GHz, and is also able to transmit. It’s only half-duplex, so to receive and transmit simultaneously you’ll need two HackRFs, or maybe wait for a hardware revision that will hopefully come sooner rather than later.

Below you can check out [Michael]‘s presentation at Toorcon where the HackRF was unleashed to the world.

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Toorcamp: The American Hacker Camp

Toorcamp is all wrapped up after four great days of talks, hacking, and parties. Located in Neah Bay, Washington, Toorcamp was a four day event modelled after European hacker camps. This is the second time Toorcamp has been run, and it’s clear that both the organizers and attendees know how to throw an awesome stateside hacker camp.

The camp featured talks, including keynotes by [Joe Grand] and [George Dyson], and villages for hardware hacking, lock picking, crafting, and welding. Workshops ranging from Arduino for Total Newbies with [Mitch Altman] to Wifi Hacking with [Darren Kitchen] let attendees get their hands dirty in a variety of activities. Hackerspaces and other collectives set up fantastic campsites featuring full kitchens, ham radios, questionably legitimate wifi networks, and bike jousting.

Some of the highlights include a giant laser that required FAA approval to fire into the sky, an elaborate tribute to the classic arcade game Robotron: 2084, and a working hand-held Tesla Gun. Stay tuned for coverage about these hacks and more.

If you missed Toorcamp, you’ll be glad to know that the organizers plan to run it on alternating years, which means the next one will be in 2014. You should also check out Toorcon San Diego in October and WorldToor in Antarctica. It looks like Toorcamp will only get better with time, and Toorcamp 2014 should be a great open air hacking event that you won’t want to miss.