NBC Dateline trying to expose malicious hackers at Defcon

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Las Vegas (NV) – Thousands of eager computer security geeks flooded into the Riviera casino in Las Vegas for the 15th annual Defcon convention today.  The convention is only a few hours old, but there’s already a serious cloak and dagger operation aimed at finding undercover reporters from NBC’s Dateline.

 


In Pictures: Opening of Defcon 2007, badge hacking challenge

 

Defcon staff and security were informed that NBC Dateline was sending five people with undercover cameras to film attendees. According to Priest, a member of the Defcon security team, the reporters would try to get hackers to admit to crimes on camera and then confront Defcon’s founder Jeff Moss about running a convention that facilitates criminal activities.

Defcon organizers happily gives free badges to the press as long as they agree to readily identify themselves and their publications.  Journalists must also agree to only photograph people with their permission. Apparently, the Dateline reporters will try to register as regular attendees and then try to blend in.

We were told that the Defcon staff somehow received pictures of the “now not-so-undercover” reporters. Determined to find the reporters, Defcon attendees have created an informal game called “Spot the Dateline” which is modeled after the “Spot the Fed” game, a staple of Defcon conventions. In Spot the Fed, attendees can win T-Shirts for spotting federal agents and bringing them up to the podium.

Before the crowds were officially let into Defcon, Priest asked for everyone’s attention and shouted, “If you see [the Dateline reporters], please don’t try to capture them.  […] and please no duct tape.”

On the technical talks front, we are looking forward to the “Hacking EVDO” session to be given by “King Tuna” on Saturday.  In the course description he asks, “Can EVDO be used in monitor mode?” which probably means he will release some type of tool that can examine EVDO traffic.

That tool could already be in the wild, because some of the other journalists are noticing suspicious traffic on their EVDO connections.  “I’ve received tons of scans,” said Dave Bullock of eecue.com.  Bullock plans on posting his scan logs later this week.