CarolinaCon – Day 2

Mar 20, 2010 • alan


The second day of CarolinaCon was packed from sunup to sundown — who am I kidding… hackers seldom rise before noon.  The festivities started at 10am.

Hacking with the iPhone – snide

No, not hacking the iPhone… but using the iPhone as a hacking tool. This talk was a good slide into the morning, a chance to let the coffee sink in. It could probably summarized with two main points:

  • Since the iPhone OS is a distant cousin of BSD Unix, many open source (Linux) networking tools can easily be ported to run on it, so a jailbroken iPhone makes a decent platform for network sniffing and the like.
  • A jailbroken iPhone provides a behind-the-scenes look at the user interface, and many things that are set on the main GUI can be changed by directly manipulating the underlying settings files.

Neither of these ideas is too surprising, and so this talk was nothing new. Still, for me, having never played with a jailbroken iPhone (honest), it was an eye-opening experience. Or maybe that was just the coffee kicking in.

We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges – Shawn Merdinger

Shawn has spent some time evaluating campus-oriented badge reader door locks from a company called S2 Security. He showed how they work, and how they are advertised to work — not necessarily the same thing. An interesting glimpse into the world of distributed security systems, with several take-home lessons about what not to do.

It’s a Feature, Not a Vulnerability – Deral Heiland

This is the third time that I have seen Deral present at CarolinaCon. In 2009, he showed us what a mistake it can be to “web-enable” your products, and in 2008, he showed us how he made friends at Symantec with “Format String Vulnerabilities 101”.

This time, he continued his endorsement of Symantec’s products by demonstrating how their AMS product conveniently allows very easy access to a machine’s resources. In fact, all it takes is a single packet to tell AMS to run any command on a target Windows box. That’s convenient! (PWNED)

Smart People, Stupid Emails – Margaret McDonald

Margaret came here all the way from Denver to tell us what we already knew… that otherwise intelligent people send the stupidest things in email. This was a lively discussion that we could all relate to… yet I have this sinking feeling that our inboxes will still be filled with garbage when we get back to work on Monday.

Mitigating Attacks with Existing Network Infrastructure – Omar Santos

Omar was cursed with the dreaded 3:00 time slot… just in time for the after-lunch sleepies. It did not help that his presentation was JAM-PACKED with very technical networking information. So, for the most part, I sort of zoned out during this very informative presentation.

I tried hard to stay awake by asking a question (about “bogons” — in this case, the newly-allocated and unfortunately-numbered 1.0.0.0/8 address space). But it did not help.

Omar plans to give this same talk at “Hack in the Box” in Dubai later this year. So if I start feeling regrets that I missed something, I guess I can always book a flight.

OMG, The World Has Come To An End! – Felonious Fish

Hackers are usually prepared for anything… or are they? FF led a discussion on survival, what is needed when the rest of our infrastructure is gone. We might have food and water and shelter, but when my iPhone battery dies, it’s game over!

You Spent All That Money and You Still Got Owned – Joe McCray

Joe’s talk was one of the highlights of the Con… even Stevie Wonder could see that it was awesome. Joe told us his secret to success — he goes into companies, totally pwns them in short order, tells them how they suck, and then they pay him.

Apparently, corporate America makes Joe’s job very easy by following the worst practices. And on the odd chance that they have their operational act together, he can always solicit a security slip-up by sending them a carefully-crafted email (pwn), or if that fails, by leaving a CD with provocative title for some nosy employee to find (serious PWN).

What a life Joe leads — that “education” he got in prison has really paid off.

Locks: Past, Picking and Future – squ33k

The lovely and talented squ33k — 5th grade teacher by day, lock hacker by night — educated us on all things lock-related. With assistance from the TOOOL crew, she taught us how modern pin tumbler locks work, and how they can be picked. But being a full-time teacher, she made sure to frame her talk with some interesting background info on locks from as far back as 4000 years ago, and a glimpse into what locks may be like in the future.

I am so proud that our youngsters are learning their skills and attitudes from this woman. She’s a girl geek role model!

Hacker Trivia

What’s that? Al was spotted in parking lot? Someone allowed him back into the country? I thought that call to the TSA would be enough to keep him detained in the airport until the Con was over. I guess not. HE’S BACK!

Once again, Al Strowger took the stage and led us in a game of Hacker Trivia. Loosely based on Jeopardy!, this game quizzed the inebriated audience on the topics of: Movie Quotes, x86 instructions, other (hacker) conferences, math, 2009 tech, and ccTLD’s. John “Math for 400” Davis took home first prize, an iTunes gift card. Many other contestants won spot-prizes: hacking books, some new geek toys, donated “vintage” equipment, Vic Vandal’s old CarolinaCon 3 t-shirt, and lots of cupcakes.

Good night everybody. Sleep well, we’ll see you at 10am tomorrow morning!