What the Hack!: Some post-conference highlights


My What the Hack! experience was very much a positive one due to the cute bunnies and the fun atmosphere of the BSD tent where I resided during my stay (the blue arrow points to my spot on the bench).  Hardware people were a bit few and far between, but one day when I was in severe need of resistors for a project I went wandering and found stephanie at the wireless village: thanks! My DECT phone was in a state of severe disrepair/hackage so I may have missed out on meeting a ton of people that were trying to call me using the free DECT network. All in all I managed to not stay glued to my computer/soldering iron the entire time and actually attended some talks and geeked out with friends and new peeps. I’ve chosen to highlight three talks from WTH to share with you.

Please note that the video links noted are to the huge mp4 files of the speeches. If you want to go the bittorrent route instead, see this link for all the possibilities.

– Physical security –

Mark Seiden gave an excellent and much-enjoyed talk about physical security. The highlights of the speech include the suggestion to use a heated pie pan to trigger heat sensors on the other side of a door and the description at the end of his speech of a vault he audited for a client where he climbed up into the vault through a floor tile after social engineering the guards to let him into the compound. If you think your locale is safe, think again. Video here. The torrent for this one seems broken. Here is a magnet link for Azureus.

– Bluetooth –

Martin Herfurt did some excellent live bluetooth scanning during his speech as well as showing the varied projects he and his crew have been up to. There is a lot of activity in bluetooth security as of late and this talk is stellar and includes as I mentioned, live demos. Slides here. Video here. Torrent here.

– WiFi drivers on BSD –

Reyk Floeter spoke about wifi driver development for BSD platforms. Notable chunks of the speech include the bits about how some Taiwanese manufacturers have opened up their specs to the developers. Supporting companies that understand that we will buy more of their gear if we can tweak it ourselves is a valid notion of open source hacktivism. Wrapping proprietary binaries in open source code is not a valid avenue for driver development. Even with wrapped up proprietary code, the Atheros drivers and chipsets change so quickly that open source developers are left scrambling to keep up. This speech focuses mostly on development of drivers and a history of wifi driver implementation on BSD, but it is a must see for those who would like to understand a bit more clearly the politics of open source vs. the corporations as far as hardware is concerned. Video here. Torrent here.

These were just my personal favorites and What the Hack! has a ton more data on the wiki: http://wiki.whatthehack.org. You’ll likely find more fascinating talks and subjects that i didn’t mention in this post.
Here are some more links to get you going:
Flickr photo stream of what the hack tags
magnetic stripe technology talk Torrent here.
the futureshock talk Torrent here.
reverse engineering xda (torrent here) and the xda developer wiki
Soekris stuff (very popular at WTH!) which has already been linked on Hack-A-Day
video mirrors and bittorrent links for the talks

I can’t wait until the next incarnation of the dutch hacker camping fun in four years! Oh and if anyone has pics of me working on hardware in the BSD area, please drop me a line.

[photo credits throughout: mark]

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