Surviving a hacker conference


With another hacker conference looming in front of us, it’s time to start thinking about hardware security. Hacker conventions have the most hostile network you’ll ever encounter. [Security4all] points out that 25C3 already has an extensive page on securing your hardware. It starts from the ground up with physical security, BIOS passwords, and locking down bootloaders. There’s a section on securing your actual OS and session. Finally, they cover network usage. It mentions using SSH for dynamic forwarding, which we feel is a skill everyone should have. We’ve used it not just for security, but for bypassing brainless bandwidth restrictions too. There’s also the more trick transparent version. Every piece of data you bring with you, you risk losing, so they actually recommend just wiping your iPhone and other devices before attending. It’s important to remember that it’s not just your own data at risk, but everyone/thing you communicate with as well.

25th Chaos Communication Congress schedule

The team behind 25C3 has published the first draft of this year’s schedule. The annual Chaos Communication Congress is happening December 27th to 30th in Berlin, Germany. There are plenty of interesting talks already in place. We’re spotting things we want to attend already: The conference starts off with how to solar power your gear, which is followed by open source power line communication. A TOR-based VPN, an open source BIOS, rapid prototyping, holographic techniques, and running your own GSM network are on the bill too.

We’ll have at least three Hack a Day contributors in attendance. Last year featured two of our favorite conference talks: [Drew Endy]’s Biohacking and the MiFare crypto1 RFID crack. We hope to see you there.

Notacon call for papers


Notacon has just announced their first round of talk selections. The Cleveland, OH area hacker conference will be celebrating its sixth year April 16th-19th. When we attended this year we saw talks that ranged from circuit bending to the infamous TSA bagcam. Self-taught silicon designer [Jeri Ellsworth] presented on FPGA demoing. [Trixter] covered his demo archiving process. You can find a video archive of this year’s talks here.

We’re really looking forward to the conference. [SigFLUP] is already on the schedule to cover Sega Genesis development. Get your talk in soon though; they’re already handing out space to the knitters.

Hacking at Random 2009 dates announced

Hacking at Random, an international technology and security conference, has just announced the dates for their 2009 event. The four day outdoor technology camp will be held August 13-16 near Vierhouten, Netherlands. HAR2009 is brought to you by the same people who held What the Hack, which we covered in 2005. They’ve done this every four years for the last 20. We’ll be sure to attend. We loved CCCamp in Germany last year and plan on attending ToorCamp in Seattle this year too.

[photo: mark]

22C3 Day 10 and 11 Round Up

Now that the CCC is over, we finally dug ourselves out of a ginormous pile of cables (Kabelsalat ist gesund!) to bring you this round up post about the best stuff from the last two days of the con.

First up on day 10 was I See Airplanes!, Eric Blossom’s excellent speech on creating hardware for making homebrew radars and software using the GnuRadio project. He uses bistatic passive receivers in the 100 MHz range doing object detection using other peoples’ transmitters. The project has a lot yet to accomplish including the use of helical filters (if there are any antenna freaks reading this, contact Eric, he’s looking for a bit of help).

Next on the third day we attended Ilja van Sprundel‘s huge fuzzing  extravaganza. Fuzzers generate bad data that is designed to look like good data and will hopefully break something in an interesting way. Our fav part? When the list of irc clients broken by his ircfuzz tool was so long he had to use 10pt font to get it all on one slide (see slide 53)! His paper can be found here and the slides here.

We then wandered to Harald Welte‘s talk on hacking the Motorola EZX series phones (which we’ve reported on here before). In case you forgot, the EZX series has a linux kernel. Incidentally the phone runs lots of stuff it really doesn’t need (like glibc, 6 threads for just sound processes, and even inetd). He presented the project for the first time in an official context since we saw him at 0Sec in October. Apparently lots of kinks have been worked out and there’s an official code source tree here.

The clincher for day 11 was FX and FtR of Phenoelit‘s semi-controversial talk on Blackberry security (covering both handheld devices and server based RIM products). This talk was a bit of a wake up call for RIM and thus the slides are still not available online so keep a sharp eye out for the video when it’s released by the CCC.

Also available from the CCC are the full proceedings in a downloadable pdf (also available in paper format for you physical-space-doodle-in-the-margin freaks).

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