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  • First time at Defcon!

    Hi all, I'm bpmgrt, excited to be going to Defcon this year! First time, coming over from the UK. I'm a PhD student looking at anonymous groups online as well as an interest in hacking - I'm not going for data collection, just for the experience and to learn. Any advice for a first timer?

  • #2
    Originally posted by bpmgrt View Post
    Hi all, I'm bpmgrt, excited to be going to Defcon this year! First time, coming over from the UK. I'm a PhD student looking at anonymous groups online as well as an interest in hacking - I'm not going for data collection, just for the experience and to learn. Any advice for a first timer?


    Depends on your interests. We have similar questions asked in other threads.
    * A floorplan discussion for DC24: https://forum.defcon.org/forum/defco...n-24-floorplan
    * The Official FAQ: https://www.defcon.org/html/links/dc-faq/dc-faq.html
    * Though some information is a bit outdated, there is some useful information in the Unofficial FAQ: http://defcon.stotan.org/faq/
    * Assuming it is still going to happen, on Thursday, check out the "DC101" track which has historically included a first talk on an introduction to DEF CON what to do, what not to do, and how best to get the most of your DEF CON. This should not be confused with the *whole* DC101 track, which has introductions to various fields and specializations. That can also be good for an intro to a topic you do not yet know much about.
    * If "talks" are your thing, and you want to see them in-person, review them all online before you arrive at DEF CON, build a list of what is most interesting, and then build a schedule. If rooms are full, you may not be able to get in. Each room has a maximum occupancy, and once met, no new people are allowed in until people already in are allowed out. (In the past, DEF CON goons have experimented with requiring everyone in the room to exit a talk once it ended, then allow those people in line to see the next talk to leave. This was found to have problems, an alternate system of not forcing everyone to leave the room after each talk, but instead have just one line per speaker track, and when people leave the room, people in the front of the line may enter. I do not know if any decision has been announced in public on what will happen this year.)
    * Don't pretend to be someone you are not (Don't claim to have a job, title, position knowledge that you do nt actually have.)
    * If seeing talks is your thing, get a room at Bally's Hotel and Casino or the Paris Hotel and Casino; DEF CON takes over 4 or more channels with video and audio of presentations to each room. This has been hit-or-miss, sometimes including video of just the speaker, or just the slides they have on screen. Sometimes the system used to provide this service crashes, but they usually recover it within 30 minutes if it does.
    * Talks are eventually (often ~3 months later) are made available after con for free. If you want to see talks sooner than when they are free, there is a service that can ship you DVD/video of the talks sooner, but that has a fee associated with it. I think it is or was "The Sound of Knowledge" or "Source of Knowledge" ( http://www.tsok.net/ ) that provided that service, I a am not sure if they still do.)
    * In order to find out what you like and what you do not like, try a little of everything:
    * Join a team in some sort of contest
    * Participate or volunteer to help in an event or village
    * Socialize, ask questions, introduce yourself to other people
    * Review threads in the "DEF CON 24 Planning" forum for topics that interest you: https://forum.defcon.org/forum/defco...on-24-planning
    * Follow key people on twitter for updates, while at con. Start with https://twitter.com/defcon and who they follow.
    * There are 2 camps on personal technology at DEF CON:
    1) Do not bring your tech, and if you do, turn it off while at con: each is a security risk for being "hacked" and a distraction for what is going on at each moment.
    2) Bring your tech if you will use it at con: like as part of a contest, or if you plan to keep up on social network updates, to get the latest announcements about DEF CON, contests, events, villages, etc. (For example, if you are participating in Capture the Flag, your probably do need some tech.)

    Comment


    • #3
      bpmgrt , that's awesome, last year was my first trip to DEF CON (and to Las Vegas) and it was a whirlwind. There are several folks on the forum that will help you find good info ( TheCotMan was incredibly helpful to me when I was trying to figure out which way was up and plan my trip and I've seen him do the same for countless others).
      • In addition to all of the info that's posted above this, I tried to do a quick postmortem on my trip (to help others and as a reminder for myself this year) here.
      • Familiarize yourself with the floorplan and, when you arrive, get oriented to what's there and how to get to the places that you want to go. There's a lot there and, if you don't have a plan for getting from point a to point b, you'll miss something.
      • It can't be said enough to talk to folks. I'm pretty good at talking to people online but, when it comes to actually walking up to a stranger and talking to them, not so much. I made it a point to do so last year and *everyone that I met* was cool and just as eager to chat as I was. I also wrote my handle on my badge last year (not sure that'll be an option this year, so will need to get creative) but several folks saw it and chatted just because of that (they had apparently seen me on here).
      • Read through posts here and keep up with the recent posts. I found TONS of good intel here.

      .: This post contains 100% recycled electrons :.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hello The Cotman,
        We have conversed before about a variety of questions i have posted that you have generously answered as a Defcon admin. Thank you... I will be going to your next conference that is posted s. I wamt ask you about where is the sign up page or website i need to use to add myself to the conference? Second question... i recently tried to join a few Defcon groups including my local DC401 group by sending them emails but i never got a reply and acceptance into any groups. So how do i join a group and who do i mail or talk to to join one?

        Thanks,
        Ruggles23

        P.s. hope asking does not put me in F..Tard hall of misfortunate fame.. Lol.

        Comment


        • #5
          ruggles23 , at the risk of stepping on TheCotMan's toes, I think that there are a couple of questions here (let me know if I've missed the mark on either or both of them)
          - First, where to sign up for DEF CON? It's annually in Las Vegas, this year 4 August through 7 August. No sign-up, just show up at the Paris Hotel and Casino the morning of 4 August with $240 cash. Stand in line with some of the coolest people on the planet, buy yourself a swag bag and badge and enjoy the con.
          - Second, the DEF CON Groups (DC401). If you're not getting any response back from the primary POC on the list, you may want to sign up for the mailing list (http://lists.dc401.org/listinfo.cgi/dc401-l-dc401.org) and see if there's any activity there. The website looks to have been dead since circa 2013 so it's entirely possible that the groups dead :(

          Hope this helps
          .: This post contains 100% recycled electrons :.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ruggles23 View Post
            Hello The Cotman,
            We have conversed before about a variety of questions i have posted that you have generously answered as a Defcon admin. Thank you...
            You are welcome. HTH. :-)

            I will be going to your next conference that is posted s. I wamt ask you about where is the sign up page or website i need to use to add myself to the conference?
            That is answered in the Primary DEF CON FAQ. https://www.defcon.org/html/links/dc-faq/dc-faq.html
            (See the URL above for current info. here is a copy of what is there and related to your question as of today/now:)
            Originally posted by FAQ_SAMPLES
            How much is admission DEF CON, and do you take credit cards?
            DEF CON 24 costs $240 USD cash. Do we take credit cards? Are you JOKING? No, we only accept cash - no checks, no money orders, no travelers checks. We don't want to be a target of any State or Federal fishing expeditions.
            Can I pre-register for DEF CON?
            No. We used to do this a long time ago, but found that managing the registration list, and preventing one 'Dr. Evil' from impersonating another 'Dr. Ev1l' too much of a hassle. Seeing how we would only take cash in the first place, and things becomes time consuming and easy to abuse. Cash at the door works every time.
            I need a letter of invite for my visa application, how do I get that?
            In most cases, DEF CON can send a signed letter of invite, usually within a few short business days once we have all the info. If you also require verification of housing, we can put you in touch with someone to help you get your hotel stay organized, let us know if you need that.

            Along with your request, please email us the following to info(at)defcon(.)org

            Name as is on passport:
            Passport number:
            Country of issue:
            Date of issue:
            Date of expiration:
            Country of origin:
            Summary? There is no pre-sale of DEF CON badges. Closest thing to that was once a system for BlackHat Attendees to pre-pay for one with their Blackhat payment when signing up for BlackHat USA, Las Vegas, but they would not receive their DEF CON badge until the same day as DEF CON badge sales opened for DEF CON attendees. I do not know if this is still done. You will have to check with BlackHat for that information.

            All other sales of DEF CON badges:
            * In person
            * With Cash (no checks or credit cards or traveller's cheques, etc.)
            * You can buy many badges when you go to buy badges, so someone can buy like 5 or maybe 10 badges all at once when they get the front of the line to buy badges. If you have many people with you, and you trust one person with your cash, they can stand in line to buy your badge for you.
            * There are limited numbers of "dedicated" badges, and some people are unhappy if they do not receive one of these. (For example, an electronic badge, or last year, a vinyl record.) Once supplies of these "dedicated" badged run out, the fall-back has often been sale of "paper badges" which still works as a token to gain access to DEF CON like the "dedicated" badges, but often denies those that have these paper badges from competing in contests related to the DEF CON badge (Badge-Hacking : hardware work to use the electronic badges to build something) (or) (Lost[boy]'s Mystery / Puzzle with the Badge as a core part of helping to solve the puzzle.)
            * Because there is contention for these "dedicated" badges, many people line up earlier than badge sales opens to buy a badge. Last year, I think a tiny number people were in line more than 24 hours before sales were expected to open. Most people arrived an hour or less before badge sales began.
            * There are "rumors" or a "lore" that electronic badges are sold every other year, while non-electronic badges are sold the rest of the time. Last year was a vinyl record (non-electronic badge) so if the "lore" or "rumors" turn out as expected, this year would have an electronic badge. This may increase demand, and cause people to get in line a little earlier.
            * If you *earned* a BlackBadge at a past DEF CON, there is a process for bringing that badge with you to get your free badge to attend. I do not know that process or if some black badges count for this, or if this will change for black badges after a certain year, but the general process has been: bring your BlackBadge, meet someone. Turn it in. Provide contact information. Get a "human" badge for that year. Use it. End of con (few hours during the day) return to a location to re-claim the black badge you turned in and get it back. If you fail to get it back, they use the contact information you provided to try to reach you and/or validate you are really you if you ask about it later.

            Second question... i recently tried to join a few Defcon groups including my local DC401 group by sending them emails but i never got a reply and acceptance into any groups. So how do i join a group and who do i mail or talk to to join one?
            I think that blakdayz is the head goon that oversees all thing related to DEF CON Groups. Please checkout https://defcongroups.org/ for details on what to do when you try to contact a DEF CON Group but get no response. Specifically, their FAQ https://defcongroups.org/dcgfaq.html and the section "Q: What do I do if the DCG POC in my area doesn't respond to my email?"

            Blakdayz is a good guy, and responsible. He is active with DEF CON and has done well with his team and their work to try to help get DCG working better. Use the DCG pages and try them out. First, try contacting the DCG's published "PoC" and give them time to respond. If the DCG PoC does not respond in the time stated in the DCG FAQ, then you should try following the suggestions in the DCG FAQ and contact a goon responsible for all of the DCG status/listing. If both fail to get any response for over 1 week, please followup here and I can ask someone else. Use their published, directed method first, and give them time to reply. I do not like involving myself in other departments unless there is critical need.

            P.s. hope asking does not put me in F..Tard hall of misfortunate fame.. Lol.
            "Fucktard Hall" (the forum we have here) is reserved for our most abusive people. We have not really had the kinds of problems that would merit such a response in a long time. Usually, a person would get warnings and see their posts moved to /dev/null (another forum we have here) with comments and warnings on what they did that was a problem. Persistence in causing trouble would earn a person a trip to "Fucktard Hall". Also, there in an inherent requirement that posts moved to "Fucktard Hall" mean the user is banned from the DEF CON forums.

            The only problem I see so far, and I have not warned you on it, is you asked a question which was answered in the FAQ after being told about that FAQ. No other problems that I can see. You would likely see a warning if it was observed as a general trend in your content. (This paragraph is not a warning on this.) We (mods) tend to take into consideration the past contributions of members, too, when deciding which action is appropriate. For example, a minor mistake would likely not even get a comment, notice or warning, if it appears to be out-of-the-ordinary. People tend to learn from their mistakes and grow when informed of these. It is when people do not learn, that they earn their place in Fucktard Hall.

            Originally posted by sainate View Post
            ruggles23 , at the risk of stepping on TheCotMan's toes, I think that there are a couple of questions here (let me know if I've missed the mark on either or both of them)
            I am primarily about information and getting it to people. There is no stepping on my toes if you give users information.

            Much of DEF CON is still a "meritocracy" where your reputation is based on what you have contributed, and there is a half-life on contribution with respect to this. (For examplem if you have done nothing related to hacking/DEF-CON for 10 years, but you did something 10 or 11 years ago, few people will care or remember you or your contributions. Half-life is applied in Internet Time.) The more you help, and work to help, the more those yourhelp gain advantage, and your reputation in service/help can grow. The greater the number of people you help, the greater your chance in being vouched for later by someone, or asked for by name to help them with a new contest, event, village, or something else related to DEF CON. (People like to recruit from those they know and trust.)

            If you want to step on my toes, that is easy:
            * Spam the forum -- I've banned people without warning for SPAM
            * Post requests to break the law, or statements which are illegal
            * Direct me to silence a user because they are offensive, disagreeable, whatever.. friendships have ended because past friends asked me to purge contents from other users. I'll "silence" SPAM (removed from public view, but saved) and some illegal content can get edited (very rare and documented when it happens with explanation of what was changed and why in a follow-up post.)
            * Tell me how I should run the forums (ban people, etc.) -- I am open to many kinds of suggestions about general management, but I agree with a post from another admin here on request to ban people: https://forum.defcon.org/forum/rules...need-your-help : I am the one that made that a sticky. I still agree with it today. User banning is a fairly complex process, and each moderator has autonomy in how they choose to apply it, and each is responsible for keeping or reversing a ban. I do not think I have ever reversed a mod's ban unless they asked me.

            Helping people with information is not a violation of any kind of rules or any imposition on my work here.


            - First, where to sign up for DEF CON? It's annually in Las Vegas, this year 4 August through 7 August. No sign-up, just show up at the Paris Hotel and Casino the morning of 4 August with $240 cash. Stand in line with some of the coolest people on the planet, buy yourself a swag bag and badge and enjoy the con.
            Yep, that is right. It is in the FAQ, and the only thing I think I would add to that is that is the present price for DEF CON 24. It may go up next year. Always check the FAQ or main site for the cost in the year you plan to attend.

            - Second, the DEF CON Groups (DC401). If you're not getting any response back from the primary POC on the list, you may want to sign up for the mailing list (http://lists.dc401.org/listinfo.cgi/dc401-l-dc401.org) and see if there's any activity there. The website looks to have been dead since circa 2013 so it's entirely possible that the groups dead :(
            Yep! Also a good suggestion.

            HTH,
            -Cot
            Last edited by TheCotMan; May 11, 2016, 00:27.

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            • #7
              Thanks TheCotMan and sainate - can't wait!

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