Defcon Day 1 Postmortem

Defcon, the annual pilgrimage for many an infosec professional, followed day 1 and day 2 of BSidesLV as usual. The con officially started on Thursday but most people don’t show up on Friday since day 0 primarily focuses on first-timers. As such I didn’t show up until then and instead of heading over early to catch the star-stunted morning lineup, I chose to just relax at the hotel some and meetup with some folks for a late breakfast.

Unfortunately, this decision means I missed some great talks relevant to us in the DC area, including “Torturing Open Government Systems for Fun, Profile, and Time Travel” by Tom Keenan, “The Growing Irrelevance of US Government Cybersecurity Intelligence Information” by former lead of the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) Mark Weathersford, and “Backdoors, Government Hacking and The Next Crypto Wars” by Christopher Soghoian. In addition, the lineup included the popular “Adventures in Automotive Networks and Controls Units” by Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, who you may have caught on some of the morning shows recently.

In trying to do something a little different, I headed over to the “Meet the VCs” panel. I really didn’t get much out of it beyond saying that if you are starting a company, always imply your goal is to sell it … even if it isn’t. It was nice that several of the panelists met with some of the questioners afterwards to discuss their potential business ideas. Next up was “The ACLU Presents: NSA Surveillance and More” panel. Each of the panelists were well-spoken and addressed different areas according to their expertise (e.g., Verizon metadata, PRISM, FISA court, etc.). I really enjoyed the panel but if you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, you didn’t miss much.

That was pretty much it talk-wise. The rest of the time was spent meeting people I’ve only known online, catching up with old friends, exploring the contest and vendors halls, and attending several of the Defcon parties that evening. Of course the most exciting thing so far at the con is the availability of an AT&T data connection. I don’t expect to be as lucky on Saturday though.

If you are in town this weekend and interested in meeting up today or tomorrow, just ping me on Twitter at @grecs.

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Today’s post pic is from Defcon.org. See ya!

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