Bert JW Regeer (畢傑龍)

DefCon - The LosT mystery challenge

This year DefCon was once again set in the light of the LosT mystery challenge. That is what I spent my time on, it is what was the most fun to participate in, then again, I am not that great at lock picking or guitar hero so those two contests were out in the first place.

That being said, I really enjoyed DefCon this year, it was not as crazy as last year, and at the same time it was a lot more fun since I knew a lot more people. I was able to converse with some of the smartest people in the world on their own subject matter and research, which provided much enjoyment. There is nothing like asking the people whose research you have been reading questions regarding the subject of their research. You get better answers, and when you get an answer that goes over your head you can ask them to please explain in different terms.

This year was a success, next year I hope that I can make even better business contacts, and find myself a job either in the security industry or in the software programming industry. DefCon and or Black Hat are great events to go to meet people and learn from the professionals.

If I saw you this year at Black Hat, and or DefCon, hopefully I will see you again next year, for those of you who I missed, well, next year is another chance.

Black Hat write-up

I drove up to Vegas on Thursday, got there, the next day I was up at 0800, and then I was on my hands and knees taping down network cables, power strips and other such things so that the trainers at Black Hat had their own networks to show their stuff. I was up till about midnight before I got to go to sleep. The next morning I had to be up at 0800 again, this time to put out fires, run a new network cable there where it is not working, and or fix power strips that did not provide power.

After that we have to stuff delegate bags. Delegate bags are Black Hat labeled bags which contain information, a CD with presentations and other things. We ended up stuffing 5000 delegate bags that same day. Chinese sweat shop style. We end the day at about 2000. I finally get to go to sleep at about 1100, after I find some dinner that does not cost an arm and a leg. Finally I get a break, Sunday I get second shift. Have to be up at around 1200. Straight to lunch duty (more about that later). Not much else goes on, we have to put certificates of course completion into black envelopes. Side note: Every single certificate is hand signed by Jeff Moss the creator of Black Hat. We all end up being let out early at around 1800, we head down to the bar to hang out and socialise. I end up leaving at around 2300 to head to bed. Next morning we have to be up at 0800, new people are coming in for training, this means that the instructors always have more issues than ever before, for some reason when new people come in they screw things up badly. A room that was perfectly fine 24 hours ago is now suddenly having 10 cables that don't work. Go figure. After putting out the fires we get some down time to just sit around, until lunch duty roles around again. It is a Monday, and I think back to the weekend I just spent running around like a mad man. That night the entire crew ends up at the Hofbrauhaus in Las Vegas. German beer, German food and German music. It was a great amount of fun. One of the guys is celebrating his birthday, so the waitress brings out a paddle with shots on it, and he then gets spanked. I got to sleep early, 2300. Tuesday is the last day of training, so we get up in the morning, put out any fires and once again put certificates in envelopes. I also get to help setting up the store, it is going to be open at around 1500 that day so we have to get all the swag sorted into different boxes, by size, and by what type of shirt it is. After that we have lunch duty. I end up being on store duty from 1400 till 1800. It is crazy, we have to in our head calculate the cost of each persons bag they want to purchase, and then either get cash from them, or hand it off to GuuWii for credit card processing. Then at the end of the day at around 1700 when classes let out, we have to go around to each room, untape any and all cables. That includes power, network and other. This takes us well until 2300. After that we need to run long network cables for Aruba networks access points so that people can get Wifi during Black Hat. This takes us until about midnight. I get to sleep at about 0100. And you guess right if you think I have to be up by 0800 the next morning. I am on store duty again, this means that once again it is a mad house trying to get people their shirts and products, calculating out numbers in my head and getting it all set up and good. I miss out on the Keynote, and on Dan Kaminsky's talk, which is the talk I wanted to go to. Grandma Kaminsky has once again made cookies and I miss out on them because I am working my ass off. Oh well, I am going to see him at DefCon this year. The store is almost out of all of it's product by the end of the day. Briefings went well, and I got to go to see the one on using Dtrace on Mac OS X for reverse engineering. Very cool. End of the day we end up doing what is going to be an annual tradition, the walk from Caesars to NYNY.

The year before, Joe Grand, AKA Kingpin had lost a bet and had to wear one of the shirts that the porn card pushers wear. The ones that say, "Girls direct to your room in 20 minutes" with a number. This year the same thing happened, except no bet was lost, however one of my friends, who has now been dubbed Pushpin looks very much like a younger Joe Grand. He was with us, and unbeknownst to him, we bought him a shirt and he too had to wear it. Pictures will be forthcoming. It is hilarious.

I get back to the Hotel at around 2300, hang out at the bar for a little bit. Just socialise, introduce myself to people in the security industry. Next morning, same drill, up at 0800. I work the store until lunch, and then I am once again down stairs in the heat. Last day, that means that I get some down time, until the talks break at 1800. We have to rip up all of the cables that we put down for the speakers and the wireless AP's. We also have to make sure that all of the BlackHat equipment is out of all of the rooms and everything is properly packed up. We then have to put it all on pallets, and shrink wrap it. After this is all done, I head over to the Riveria to get our room all set up. Pushpin had made the reservations. We head over to the Peppermill for some dinner, and then to the EFF Summit in the Penthouse to raise some money for the EFF.

During the day Black Hat provides lunch to the attendees, meaning I have to stand outside in the sun making sure that only people with badges come in to eat lunch, and if anyone asks what is going on I have to let them know it is a private event.

This is everyday, and trust me, being on your feet for 12+ hours a day is no pleasure at all. The amount of time there was to slack off and sit down was almost zero.

This is at Caesars Palace in Vegas, one side of the hotels conference area to the other side of the conference area. The amount of walking involved was insane, every part of my body was hurting. Even now, that I am sitting at DefCon my feet still hurt from the abuse I gave them.