I woke up pretty early. Obviously as I am not alien Andrew, it must be the jet lag has not caught up with me yet. I took a long slow breakfast and decided to let everyone rush to the first sessions of DefCon without me. I prepared Mr Laptop for a day at DefCon. I turned on the firewall logs, I turned off inbound UDP and blue tooth. I logged out of all my favorite websites which have a clear text equivalent hash (such as slashdot or even this blog). I confirmed that I was using SSL to grab my e-mail. I fear that it’s not going to be enough.
When I tried getting a cab, there was a queue a mile long. So I waited. It was 40 C at 9.30 am. Lovely.
I finally got there around 10 am when the first sessions were kicking off, and I realized that effectively, if you’re not in the queue 15+ minutes before a session starts, you’ve got buckleys of seeing that session. DefCon has become too popular; only about half the attendees can see any particular session. In fact, this means you can only see about half the sessions if you stay to the end of each. So pretty much everyone leaves 10 minutes before the end. This is very disruptive to the presenter.
I wanted to meet up with a bunch of people, so I gingerly turned on Mr Laptop and SMS’d a bunch of folks. I watched the sheep board to make sure I wasn’t exposing any passwords. Luckily, the answer was no. The Sheep board is a bit disturbing, they have a short film clip every time someone exposes a password in the clear whether by bluetooth (boy am I glad I turned it all off before I arrived). The film clips varies between the bunny being cleaned up by a Mercedes in a race, to a woman being mauled by a bear when she sits next to it and others. Each clips is only a second or so long, but you wish you hadn’t looked.
Sure enough DefCon is filled to the brim with freaks. There’s the guy in a large woollen trenchcoat with a laptop in a harness on his back with two very large aerials. No guesses as what he is doing. There’s the various goths and so on who are there to be seen in their resplendant black battle gowns. It’s now 42 C. There’s the guy who is wearing a black skirt trying to desperately to make it out as if it’s a kilt. No sir, it’s a skirt. Here’s what he looks like – in fact I think I might have found his source:
Then there’s the usual sort of script kiddie trying to attack other computers. The firewall logs I have are completely lame.
One of the cool things about this DefCon compared to last time is that there seems to be more chicks. There’s like five of them. Unfortunately, four are goths, but the other one is pretty cute. I will keep you posted on this disturbing trend!
I went to a few sessions, but they’re all network attack tools. The state of the art here really hasn’t moved along as much as I would have thought. I will be selecting day two talks a bit more carefully. Which could be tricky as there seems to be a hardware lock picking stream, leaving just two other streams.
One talk I went to by accident was the NRMC. The tent was running late and the guy they had planned to present on the next generation of cryptanalytic hardware thought was presenting on Saturday. I stayed anyway as Simple Nomad was not presenting, which is good as Simple Nomad is a wanker of the highest order. After presenting a few tools and using only half an hour of their allotted hour, they started their Q&A spanking session. You could ask a question, but only if you had previously filled out their “ass release form”, which allowed them to spank you with one of four things:
- “firm hand from any NRMC member of your choice”. They’re all blokes and only one looks like he could actually hurt you. The rest are weedy geeks
- Paddle from a previous conference. Weedy geeks, shouldn’t hurt.
- Copy of “Hacking Exposed, 3rd edition”
- piece of paper with the words “Patriot Act” written on it. Gee, how funny is that?
I didn’t hang around as they seemed to want to make love to Mudge on stage and I felt that Mudge wanted man meat sooo bad. Normally, I’m totally into that, but I’d already seen the presentation and I had a meeting to get to. The tools weren’t too bad, but the tools on stage had a highly inflated opinion of themselves.
I met our new publisher, Bill Pollock from No Stach Press. He’s a really nice guy and he’s so totally on the same page as us. He took me to a Vietnamese chain restuarant (!), and I had some grilled sliced pork. I think we’ll get along just fine.
After that, I was invited to a party at Hard Rock (again), but honestly, I just didn’t feel like being smoked upon, so I tried to go back to my hotel. The taxi line was more than a mile long, with hundreds waiting. A cab came every 30 seconds or so. I looked in the distance and I could see Caesar’s Palace. The cab ride in the morning wasn’t too bad… So I walked it back.
Well, it took about an hour and was filled with bizarre stuff. These dogdy dudes were at a set of lights, and they wondered if I would buy their shitty old van, a bargain at $300. Yeah, riigggght. I kept on walking and nearly got cleaned up when I accidentally stepped on to the road without looking in the right direction. Luckily, the lanes are wide. Then near the main drag, I was being followed by a goth, and he was being followed by an extra from Mullet World. I looked with interest at the ticket window of Fashionistas, and waited for them to pass. And what’s not to like about looking at a hoarding of five beautiful women in fake wigs, knee high boots, riding crops and fishnets?
I stopped off at the Bellagio’s fountains about 45 minutes into my trek. They started playing “A song for Guy” by Elton John, and the 600 metre long fountains in the middle of this man-made lake were doing this water ballet routine. It was so Las Vegas – one of the best gay love songs ever written playing through speakers hidden inside fake 19th century gas lamps spotted every few metres, beautiful water fountains routine obviously synchronized by a friend of Dorothy or two, all the while huge police and fire trucks are zooming down the strip drowning out the music with their sirens.
I finally got back to the hotel room. I was bushed, hot and sore. Only one thing for it – I filled the spa. Any thought of going out to get smoky was eliminated when those gentle bubbles hit my sore feet.