Lately at a lot of the local meetups I’ve been attending one question I consistently get is how to get a ShmooCon barcode. Well, it’s all about networking. Here’s a quick DO/DON’T list to help you get started.
DO join and participate in relevant distro lists and forums. If you’re local look to NovaHackers, NovaLabs, Unallocated, for the most active lists. Also be sure to checkout CapSecDC, OWASP NoVA, OWASP DC, and more for some others that might get active as ShmooCon approaches. If you’re anywhere else, the PaulDotCom list usually has also been a good place for people to share barcodes out when plans go bad. Also we’ve also quietly released a forum (in beta) on our site that you might want to try out. The “Buy/Sell/Trade Gear” area might be the best place to connect with others for barcodes. Overall though be cautious who you buy your barcode from. Hopefully you’ll meet someone you know, directly or through a friend, that you can safely transact with (see below).
DO attend local meetups. It’s probably a little to late to take advantage of this suggestion but we will be holding our monthly NovaInfosec Meetup – East CitySec meetup this coming Wednesday. You can also checkout our calendar for other local events that might be occurring this week. Who knows … you might run into someone trying to get rid of their tickets due to an unexpected change in plans. And always be sure to checkout your local hackerspaces for events they might have scheduled this week. The ones to know about locally include NovaLab, ReverseSpace, HacDC, and Unallocated. You can also head over to the HackerspaceWiki for a list of spaces that might be in your area. Again … be cautions of who you are buying the ticket from (see below).
DON’T go onto eBay and pay $450 for a ticket. Or even for list price for that matter… Buying tickets from someone you don’t know can be a risky proposition as barcodes can easily be created and sold with almost no recourse. The best advice is to contact the ShmooCon organizers and get on their waiting list. And if you have a barcode you are trying to get rid of, reach out to ShmooCon as well. Here is the advice from a recent ShmooCon post.
If you’re looking for a legitimate way to sell your extra ticket to a stranger – contact us. We have a waiting list and as long as you are willing to sell the ticket at cost, we will help you sell it. Transactions managed this way also protect the buyer as we will reissue the barcode to the new purchaser.
And yes. Sometimes bad things happen. One poor guy showed up last year with a code purchased on eBay and it was bad at the door. If memory serves it was actually a barcode from the year prior. Could this have been done in error? Maybe…and we’re not sure how it got resolved but he wasn’t let into the con with the bad barcode.
In summary – BUYING TICKETS FROM OTHERS IS DONE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
DO follow the #shmoocon hashtag as the con gets closer. Or maybe create a custom search that mentions “#shmoocon” and “barcode” or “ticket” in the same tweet. When someone announces be ready to jump on it (after some verification of course). If your Twitter client supports it, maybe even set it up to received push notifications as well. Boxcar use to support this feature but unfortunately looks like they they’ve temporarily removed it. TweetAlarm.com may be an alternative but it only delivers notifications to your inbox instead and I’m not sure of the delay.
DO show up a “LobbyCon,” “BarCon” or whatever you want to call it. It’s often been said that some of the best parts of any conference are HallwayCon. Unfortunately, this probably won’t work at ShmooCon since those areas are usually blocked off. So the next best thing is heading over to LobbyCon or BarCon, i.e., hanging out in the lobby or bar of the con hotel and just start chatting it up with some of the attendees. If you still haven’t gotten a ticket using any of the previous methods, just show up and let it be known that you are looking for a barcode. If you shy, pin a “Have Cash; Need a ShmooCon Barcode” sign on your shirt. Many of the attendees will have co-workers or friends that for whatever reason couldn’t show up and perhaps you might strike a deal with them. You may even find out that you’re having such a good time at LobbyCon, that you may not even want to attend the actual con. LobbyCon is also a great way to get wrist bands for the Saturday night party.
In closing though I wouldn’t look at this “networking” as something you do just to get a ShmooCon barcode … use it as a jump to really start getting involved in the infosec community. In the long term this dedication will probably help you the best in your personal life (making tons of new friends with common interests) as well as your career (getting that next big job – that you love to do vs. just punching the ticket and going home).
Do you have any other suggestions for getting a ShmooCon barcode? Let us know in the comments below. Today’s post pic is from ShmooCon.org. See ya!