Let the (War)games begin! Black Hat and Defcon hacking conventions begin

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Las Vegas (NV) – For the next week, the brightest computer security minds are meeting in Las Vegas to drum up new ways of breaking into and protecting networks.  The annual pilgrimage can be described as a temporary truce between the forces of good and evil as federal agents and corporate security officers try to learn the most from their black hat cousins.  Of course, like in previous years, TG Daily will be covering the event.

Black Hat started today in Ceaser’s Palace and runs until tomorrow while Defcon goes from Friday to Sunday at the Riviera Hotel and Casino.  In our initial walkthrough at Black Hat, we’re impressed by how much the event has grown since being bought by CMP a few years back.  There are more vendor booths than ever before and some companies are even employing booth babes to lure hackers in.  You know you’ve hit the big time when the booth babes start showing up.

The infamous “Wall of Sheep”, previously seen at the Defcon conventions, is now also at Black Hat.  The Wall of Sheep is loose group of volunteers that scan the computer networks for usernames and passwords and then publish the results on a projector screen.  While this sounds scary, it’s done in good spirits and shows why people should always be careful access their emails, webmail and any other information on untrusted networks.  Why you would be checking your email unencrypted at Black Hat or Defcon is beyond me, but people still do it!  We’ll try to interview the Wall of Sheep guys later to find out their latest techniques for grabbing passwords from the air.

We’ve already sat in a few interesting talks with Dan Kaminsky’s DNS Internet Armageddon (our words, not his) bug being the best.  We’ll have a more complete write-up later.  There will also be talks about vulnerabilities in online games, making money from your hacking and pushing malware through Windows Update.

It’s going to be a busy and grueling week, but there’s one thing I don’t have to worry about – the Internet bandwidth.  Check out our connection in the press room.