I am on the plane killing time and just thought I would put together some thoughts going through my mind as I transition from DefCon mentality to SES.
First of all if any of you don’t know what DefCon is you should check it out. Basically its a world class hacker convention every year in Las Vegas. Its also something that is taken extremely seriously in the security world. Every networking player is here and every branch of government that has anything to do with computer security is represented. Department of Justice, Homeland Security, Department of Defense, CIA, FBI… Defcon is no joke.
Another thing about Defcon – its been kicked out of every hotel its ever been held at. I guess bad things happen when the world’s best hackers come together. I talked to one of the pit bosses at the Riviera Casino (conference host) and he said they had 3 separate meetings with law enforcement agencies about what has happened with previous defcons and how to protect themselves from hackers at this one. He said they implemented a separate IDS just to look for suspicious activity on the network (he didn’t actually say IDS but rather a “computer on the network to watch for hacker activity- I take that to mean an IDS).
I kept thinking about how totally different this is then a search engine conference. At Defcon you see all these people running around with shirts that proudly say “Blackhat” and also say “Death to white hats”.
I am new to the SES and Pubcon conference so like the first time I ever went I fired up ethereal to see what was going on the open wifi. Within seconds I had recorded over 400 passwords for smtp, aim, msn and various web form data and it was not like from stupid newbie users. It was from Google employees and Yahoo and Microsoft. Also I had aim conversations recorded. I of course deleted the data right away.
Then At SES in NYC 6 months later I was telling David Naylor about this. He was kind of surprised so I said here I will show you. We sat down on the open WIFI at New York SES and recorded 10 minutes worth of traffic. In that time there was so much unencrypted data captured on my computer that it auto-shut off cause my laptop only had FORTY GIGS OF FREE SPACE AVAILABLE… funny eh? Again I deleted everyone’s info I had captured right away.
Now check this out – at defcon they have this “wall of sheep” where they actually post in real time peoples passwords and info that were to stupid not to use a encrypted web session to there mail and web.
Well I am about to land in San Jose and I look forward to seeing you all there and I am sure they will have free internet but please keep security in mind when your using the shared public wifi at the conference. Remember everyone can see what your doing. Esp. if a lame out of date h4x0r like me can.
P.S. This is not a knock on SES or Pubcon open wifi what so ever. You are responsible for your security on the internet. This is the same thing as if you jump on a public hotspot or a hotel room wifi.