Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Title: Defcon 42;The Pentagon Conference Author: Karen Jones-Moradian, CFE

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Title: Defcon 42;The Pentagon Conference Author: Karen Jones-Moradian, CFE

    I decided to attend DEFCON 42 because I love hacking and I love my dad. My dad is scheduled to be one of the speakers at
    DEFCON 42, so I decided to fly to Washington, D.C. for the conference and surprise him. I was starting to get eager on
    the plane and antsy — I could hardly sit still. It has been a long time since I was able to surprise Dad, plus I figured
    it would be great for him to be able to show me around his second home.

    Dad was born in Texas and then moved to Northern Virginia when he was very young, so it was really his home although he
    refused to claim it. My dad and grandmother both lived in Woodbridge, Virginia, a suburb near Washington, D.C. Dad moved
    back to Texas after he and mother married. I love Texas, but I still have fond memories of going to the DC area to visit,
    especially Arlington. The city was a big part of history and used to house the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of
    Staff, and tens of thousands of civilian federal government workers.

    When the plane finally landed at the airport, I could hardly contain my excitement. I made my way to the exit and was
    waiting to board the DEFCON 42 conference shuttle when I saw Dad waiting for the shuttle also. His face lit up when he
    saw me. He asked what I was doing at the DC airport. I told him I came for the conference to hear him speak. I also
    told him how proud I am of him. When the conference shuttle came, we sat together and got caught up with each other.
    We made the short trip from the airport to the conference center.

    I tear up as we were bused to the drop off location, and I noticed the iconic five-sided building that used to be known
    as the Pentagon. I recognized it from the old movies that Dad and grandmother used to watch with me when I was a child.
    I also remember the stories of my great grandmother wanting to see the Pentagon and, then, being disappointed when it
    didn’t look as good in person as it did on television.

    The Pentagon was a big part of history and the subject of a lot of great stories. President Franklin D. Roosevelt made
    the decision in 1941 as to the design and location of the Pentagon. One of the more famous stories was the Pentagon had
    tunnels underneath for an escape route from the White House to the Pentagon that dumped out somewhere in West Virginia
    where evacuees would be safe. The Pentagon went through several renovations on the inside, and housed the Secretaries of
    the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and thousands of civilian employees. Then, there was the infamous
    event, on September 11, 2011, where foreign terrorists hijacked a plane and crashed it into the Pentagon. After that,
    there were more renovations to the Pentagon and a memorial erected to honor the dead.


    I remember my grandmother telling me she worked across the highway from the Pentagon. She said her building was called
    the paper clip building because from a distance the windows looked curved at the top and bottom similar to a paper clip.
    She said that on September 11, 2011, her and her coworkers were evacuated out onto the street and saw the black smoke
    billowing out of the Pentagon. As the defense budget got smaller and smaller, the Pentagon got caught up in a
    base-realignment-and-closure action and part of it became part of the Smithsonian museums, and the rest of it became
    office and conference space.

    Not only does the Pentagon stir pride because of the history of the building, and the memorial from the terrorist attacks,
    but I am the third generation to attend DEF CON, and am here to hear my Dad make a presentation. My grandmother won a
    short story contest where the prize was two tickets to DEF CON 21. She took my dad with her since he was a Certified
    Ethical Hacker. I remember the stories growing up about the different games played at the conference as well as the
    “war” stories from all of the parties and all the drinking and gambling since the conference was usually held in Las Vegas.
    My grandmother said that a saying of the day was “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” My grandmother and dad would
    enter the hacker games most years, and actually placed in the top ten some years, but was never able to go to DEF CON
    until she won the short story challenge. My grandmother was a Certified Fraud Examiner and an auditor by trade but did a
    fair amount of programming. Dad is still a Certified Ethical Hacker, but went to work at Cyber Command, so he could never
    really talk about what he did, but that is about to change though, he is actually one of the keynote speakers for DEFCON 42.


    We arrived at the front door of the Pentagon and were greeted by a doorman. He took our bags and put them in the back
    of a golf cart similar to the ones like they have at some airports. We get on the cart, and it welcomes us by name.
    It then tells us it will be taking us to our designated room. [I called the conference staff and told them I was going
    to try to surprise Dad and requested adjoining rooms. They said there were no adjoining rooms, but we would be able to
    share a room.] On the way to our room, the cart points out some attractions and suggests a cart tour. When we arrive at
    the room, the cart informs us the door will open when either of us touches the door with our right hand. We get off the
    cart and enter our room. We get inside and it is actually a two bedroom suite with a den and a dining area. Dad said it
    reminded him of the Lord Baltimore Hotel. According to the plaque in the room, the furniture was donated by the historical
    society of Washington. After we get freshened up, we notice the computer screen in the room blinking a notice that
    conference registration was open. We decided to check into DEF CON. The cart was outside our door when we walked out of
    the room. It asked where we wanted to go. We requested the DEF CON check-in. The cart took us to a large room where
    people were registering. The attendees looked more like they were attending a science fiction conference than a hacker
    convention. However, I am not real sure how a “hacker” should look. I remember my grandmother saying that when she and
    Dad went to a Hacker Halted Convention that she was surprised. She said there were a few men in business suits, but a
    good many in jeans and golf shirts. Some had military haircuts while others had long hair like a rock star. She said
    there were also all kinds of outfits from Goth dressed vendors to torn jeans and t-shirts. I would love for her to have
    seen this—there are bottoms, tops, and hair styles of every length. Some people had blue hair while other had purple or
    orange. Very few of us in line to register had natural hair color. Dad had braided his hair. He joked and said that
    when he was younger he looked like Weston Cage, but now that he is older, he likes to wear braids in honor of President
    Willie Nelson. [Willie Nelson was a country music singer that legalized marijuana after he became president. When he
    was young, he had a very distinguished hair cut, but as he got older he let his hair grow and would braid his hair.]
    Dad said he saw Willie Nelson in concert when Willie was 79, and he was still going strong most likely because of his
    well publicized use of marijuana.

    It is odd that the convention is still cash only with the technology of today. It is not like we could impersonate
    someone now. After all, the cart knew our name and room number!

    After we got checked in, the cart took us on the historical cart tour and suggested a restaurant for dinner.
    After eating, another cart returned us to our room and asked us what time we needed it the next morning. Once we told it,
    it scheduled a wakeup call and a pick up time.

    The next morning the cart took us to the opening session of DEF CON 42. It was awesome to be at the world’s oldest and
    largest hacking conventions. DEF CON is generally in the last week of July or first week of August in Las Vegas, but this
    year they moved it to Arlington, Virginia. Hopefully, one of the presenters will tell us why, but my guess is because of
    all of the cyber crimes and cyber wars that took place over the last 20 years. This year, there are a lot of good speeches,
    but I also want to try my hand at Capture the Flag, Hacker Jeopardy, Lock Picking, and some of the other contests. At other
    hacker conventions, Dad usually spent most of his time picking locks. I also hope there are a lot of drunken parties to
    take part in. I even think the Spot the Fed contest might be fun although in this area you probably can’t spit without
    hitting one.

    The kickoff speaker was very inspiring, but I think it is time to try to open a few locks. I make my way to the booth for
    the lock picking and Dad is there. He has a couple of hours before he gives his presentation. He is actually the keynote
    speaker after lunch. Normally, he would laugh at the lunch speaker and go to sleep during the presentation. Now, he has
    that time slot! Hopefully, they will be able to pull him away from the lock picking booth by then. It is fun, and I
    noticed they actually had an X-09 lock for people to try to open. From what I understand, 21 years ago the X-09 was
    supposed to be the most secure lock, difficult to open, and could be considered a security incident if it was included in
    a lock picking challenge. Such a security incident could cost you your security clearance (if you had one), and possibly
    land you in jail as a terrorist. However, now it is yesterday’s news, overshadowed by facial, finger, and retina scanning.

    After opening most of the locks, I decide to wander around and do some networking and social engineering to help me with
    Capture the Flag and Spot the Fed. I find a security vendor with some really nice giveaways. Someone even gave away a
    stress ball in the shape of the Pentagon, and someone else gave away a flat flashlight and a space pen. It’s finally lunch
    time, so I go by the lock picking booth and Dad is still there. We go into lunch together. He sat up on the stage, and I
    sat close to a door. I told him I was going to sit by the door in case I wanted to go back to the lock both and get there
    ahead of everyone else listening to his presentation. I was just teasing him; I stayed for his presentation and was very
    proud of him. He spoke in front of a large crowd, and made a lot of good points. I never realized how fascinating his
    job was and how much passion he has for it. The crowd even gave him a standing ovation. Several people were waiting to
    talk to him, so I decided to go back to the room and get a different computer, so I could play Hacker Jeopardy. If it
    goes well, I will spend tomorrow playing Capture the Flag and playing with the locks of course.

    Hacker Jeopardy took until supper. It was a lot of fun, but made me realize that I need more practice working on forensics.
    I realized I was hungry so I headed back to the room to put my computer away when I noticed Dad was still playing with
    the locks. Maybe I’ll get him a set of locks for his birthday or Father’s Day since he is that into them. We went on
    to the room to put the computers away and then decided to go find something to eat. After dinner, we found several parties
    to attend. One was a dessert party where most of the desserts were made from various liquors; and another party was after
    dessert drinks. It was great drinking with Dad and listening to “war” stories of the other DEF CON attendees, some of
    which had attended all of the previous DEF CON events. This turned out to be very beneficial because a lot of the
    information learned was useful on Capture the Flag. We partied to wee hours of the morning and then made it back to
    our room in time for the sunrise over the Potomac River. We take a short nap, and then Dad and I teamed up to try our
    hand at Capture the Flag. It helped having him work with me although he did most of the work. We spent the day playing,
    and it was early evening before we knew it. I got my picks in for the Spot the Fed contest. Then Dad and I grabbed a
    quick bite and continued working on Capture the Flag and Jeopardy, and then the parties started. I can’t believe I am
    actually too tired to party, but I take one for the team and hopefully get a second wind. We partied until midnight
    before returning to the room. The next morning, the cart took us to the conference area for the last time. More
    speakers were scheduled for the last day, and award winners were to be announced. I knew I didn’t win anything since
    I didn’t do as well as I would have liked on Hacker Jeopardy, or Capture the Flag but decided to stick around for the
    presentations. I was glad I did, I got a big surprise! I came in second on the Spot the Fed contest. I identified
    9 of the 10 feds. [The one I missed was my own dad!] I didn’t do too badly on the Capture the Flag, but the biggest
    surprise was that Dad won the art contest. I didn’t even know he entered. He created some really nice storyboards of
    hacking over the last 42 years and what he thinks hacking will be in the future. It was a great conference, and I
    can’t wait to attend next year.
    "They-Who-Were-Google are no longer alone. Now we are all Google."

  • #2
    Re: Title: Defcon 42;The Pentagon Conference Author: Karen Jones-Moradian, CFE

    Then, there was the infamous event, on September 11, 2011, where foreign terrorists hijacked a plane and crashed it into the Pentagon.
    She said that on September 11, 2011, her and her coworkers were evacuated out onto the street and saw the black smoke billowing out of the Pentagon.
    Emphasis Mine... 'Nuff Said
    And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts, And I looked and behold: a pale horse. And his name, that sat on him, was Death. And Hell followed with him.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Title: Defcon 42;The Pentagon Conference Author: Karen Jones-Moradian, CFE

      Originally posted by HighWiz View Post
      Emphasis Mine... 'Nuff Said
      Even though it has only been two years, it still feels like more than a decade.

      I call this one a typo. I hope. Right, Karen? I want robotic carts. El Jefe in a cart just isn't the same.
      "They-Who-Were-Google are no longer alone. Now we are all Google."

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Title: Defcon 42;The Pentagon Conference Author: Karen Jones-Moradian, CFE

        Originally posted by eris View Post
        I call this one a typo. I hope. Right, Karen?
        You're a much more lenient contest judge than I am.
        And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts, And I looked and behold: a pale horse. And his name, that sat on him, was Death. And Hell followed with him.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Title: Defcon 42;The Pentagon Conference Author: Karen Jones-Moradian, CFE

          Originally posted by HighWiz View Post
          You're a much more lenient contest judge than I am.

          I didn't say it wasn't a point issue, typos are always a point issue what with spell grammar check being available in any writing program. But I was asking if it was a typo or if the author actually got such an iconic date incorrect. I would assume typo first.
          "They-Who-Were-Google are no longer alone. Now we are all Google."

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Title: Defcon 42;The Pentagon Conference Author: Karen Jones-Moradian, CFE

            Trivia: Back in the days when the military used typewriters and not computers, three errors per page were allowed before you had to type the page over again.

            Comment

            Working...
            X