Def Con

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Despite embracing the government, DEF CON maintains its mischievous hacker roots

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Raucous applause filled the the large convention room inside Las Vegas’s Paris casino: the government had arrived.

Seated behind a table at the annual DEF CON conference in Las Vegas was Congressman Ted Lieu, and, joined by Rep. James Langevin of Rhode Island, he had come to ask a large crowd of hackers and security professionals for help. The once famously Fed-averse crowd was loving it

But don’t get it twisted — DEF CON hadn’t gone soft. The mischievous and lawless side of this assemblage of the hacker community was out in full effect – assuming, that is, you knew where to look.  Read more…

Inviting the Man to your party

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He tried to prank the DMV. Then his vanity license plate backfired big time.

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Everyone hates parking tickets. Not everyone, however, is an information security researcher with a mischievous side and a freshly minted vanity license plate reading “NULL.”

That would be Droogie (his handle, if that’s not obvious), a presenter at this year’s DEF CON hacking conference in Las Vegas and man with a very specific problem: He’s on the receiving end of thousands of dollars worth of tickets that aren’t his. But don’t tell that to the DMV.

It wasn’t, of course, supposed to end up this way. In fact, exactly the opposite. Droogie registered a vanity California license plate consisting solely of the word “NULL” — which in programming is a term for a value of zero — for fun. And, he admitted to laughs, on the off chance it would confuse automatic license plate readers and the DMV’s ticketing system.  Read more…

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Teenager finds educational software exposed millions of student records

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Teenager Bill Demirkapi had been ghosted. Hard. “It didn’t feel good,” he explained to the large crowd gathered to hear him speak. “It hurt my feelings.” 

But Demirkapi, despite his status as a recent high-school graduate, wasn’t lamenting the traditional spurned-love problems typical of his cohort. Far from it. Instead, he was speaking at the famous DEF CON hacker conference in Las Vegas, and the ghoster-in-question was educational software maker Blackboard. 

Demirkapi had reported numerous vulnerabilities in Blackboard’s software to the company; after initially being in communication with him, the company stopped responding to his emails. But Demirkapi, who found he could access a host of student data — including family military status, weighted GPAs, and special education status — through vulnerabilities in Blackboard’s system, was undeterred.  Read more…

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Turns out your office printer is a huge cybersecurity risk

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Consider the office printer.

Massive, hulking things — the devices looming in the corner of workplaces around the world have come to represent untold hours of frustration in the form of printer jams and toner problems. According to security researchers set to present their findings this Saturday at the DEF CON hacking convention in Las Vegas, they also happen to be a cybersecurity nightmare. 

Daniel Romero Pérez and Mario Rivas Vivar, researchers at NCC Group, announced the discovery of major vulnerabilities on Thursday in name-brand printers made by the likes of Xerox, HP, Lexmark, Kyocera, Brother, and Ricoh. NCC Group shared some of the researchers’ findings with Mashable ahead of the aforementioned Aug. 10 talk, and they’re enough to elicit serious double take.   Read more…

More about Hackers, Printers, Def Con, Tech, and Cybersecurity

Turns out your office printer is a huge cybersecurity risk

TwitterFacebook

Consider the office printer.

Massive, hulking things — the devices looming in the corner of workplaces around the world have come to represent untold hours of frustration in the form of printer jams and toner problems. According to security researchers set to present their findings this Saturday at the DEF CON hacking convention in Las Vegas, they also happen to be a cybersecurity nightmare. 

Daniel Romero Pérez and Mario Rivas Vivar, researchers at NCC Group, announced the discovery of major vulnerabilities on Thursday in name-brand printers made by the likes of Xerox, HP, Lexmark, Kyocera, Brother, and Ricoh. NCC Group shared some of the researchers’ findings with Mashable ahead of the aforementioned Aug. 10 talk, and they’re enough to elicit serious double take.   Read more…

More about Hackers, Printers, Def Con, Tech, and Cybersecurity

Hacker convention in Vegas is full of tin-foil hats. Literally.

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What if they really are out to get you. 

If you spend enough time walking the Las Vegas casino floors, you’re sure to come across some unique sights. But scores of people sporting all shapes and sizes of literal tin-foil hats? Welcome to DEF CON.

The annual hacker convention currently underway in the Nevada desert draws a diverse crowd of professional and hobbyist security researchers from around the world. And, for the most part, they all share one defining characteristic: the desire to stick it to The Man. 

Which, well, that specific proclivity just might end up making you a target. Read more…

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These stoner hackers want machine learning to save us from sick weed

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Nothing harshes a good mellow like sick buds. Thankfully, there may one day be an app for that. 

Hidden from the hazy Friday afternoon of Las Vegas, tucked away in the basement of the Flamingo casino, a group of likeminded hackers and security researchers gathered to explore “DIY cannabis tech” at DEF CON’s Cannabis Village. One researcher in particular, Harry Moreno, told the rather laid-back crowd that he believed that machine learning could one day solve a huge problem for home-grow enthusiasts: determining whether or not, and in what capacity, a marijuana plant is sick.

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