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Noob trying to go to DEFCON, any advice?

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  • Noob trying to go to DEFCON, any advice?

    Hi!
    I'm a 16 year old kid from Korea and I REALLY REALLY really really want to go to Defcon, because I'm very interested in hacking and pentesting. While I'm not good at it(in fact I don't know what an sql injection is nor do i know how to use metasploit) I think going to Defcon will help me learn a lot. I'm planning to go next year and I'm very excited. What should I do/prepare? Any advice will be greatly appreciated, big or small!

    some facts about me:
    I use a macbook air 1.6GHz
    I use iTerm and bash as my primary shell
    I know some python and little bash scripting but thats about it(HTML and CSS are not programming languages)
    I live in the US, I attend a boarding school
    Samy Kamkar is my hero

  • #2
    Originally posted by ericminimumwage View Post
    Hi!
    I'm a 16 year old kid from Korea and I REALLY REALLY really really want to go to Defcon, because I'm very interested in hacking and pentesting. While I'm not good at it(in fact I don't know what an sql injection is nor do i know how to use metasploit) I think going to Defcon will help me learn a lot. I'm planning to go next year and I'm very excited. What should I do/prepare? Any advice will be greatly appreciated, big or small!

    some facts about me:
    I use a macbook air 1.6GHz
    I use iTerm and bash as my primary shell
    I know some python and little bash scripting but thats about it(HTML and CSS are not programming languages)
    I live in the US, I attend a boarding school
    Samy Kamkar is my hero
    Hotels in the US mostly have rules on room reservations, requiring the person reserving and checking into a room be 18 or 21 or older. You may need to have someone else register for and pay for the room. (Also, if you want to stay at Caesar's Palace -- most convenient hotel while convention takes place as Caesar's Palace Convention Center, you will want to look to makeyour reservations before this year ends. Last year, reservations filled up quickly for Caesar's Palace and other affiliated hotels. Getting a hotel room at other hotels means walking from them, or taking a taxi/uber/lyft/bus from your hotel to the convention center.)

    DEF CON's official policy on attending DEF CON: (subject to change without notice)
    https://www.defcon.org/html/links/dc-faq/dc-faq.html
    Originally posted by URL
    What is the age limit?

    People have brought children to DEF CON - it is not recommended to do this unless you are going to constantly supervise them. It is generally an ‘adult’ atmosphere (language, booze, et cetera). If you've never been to DEF CON, you may want to refrain from bringing your children (unless they are demanding that you bring them). While there are no age limits, we have consistently cooperated with parents and/or private investigators who are looking for children that ‘ran away from home’ to go to DEF CON. You will have to be 18 to reserve a room.

    That said I think NullTone ties with the youngest person to attend DEF CON at 13 years old. Years later he is in college and set up the DEF CON Forums. See, DEF CON won't destroy you completely.
    I am not certain about that "18 to reserve a room." It was the case when we were at the Alexis Park, but since moving back to Hotel/Casino venues, I am not 100% sure about that.

    Advice: Check out the redit defcon area, and read content from several twitter accounts:
    * https://www.reddit.com/r/Defcon/
    * https://twitter.com/thedarktangent
    * https://twitter.com/dcib
    * https://twitter.com/defcon
    * https://twitter.com/DEFCON_NOC
    * https://twitter.com/Niki7a
    * https://twitter.com/v3rtig0
    * https://twitter.com/Grifter801
    * https://twitter.com/defcon101

    Review the DEF CON FAQ (see link at top of this post.)

    See if there is a "DEF CON Group" near you, and if active, attend and get to know people:
    https://defcongroups.org/dcpages.html#usa

    If no DCG are near you, try 2600 groups, or computer clubs, or User Groups for various OS, or form your own group. Networking with people that have different experiences exposes you to ideas or concepts you have not yet encountered.

    On what to learn, you can review past talks, and watch many on YouTube. Watch for understanding any videos for topics that interest you. When something comes up that you do not understand, pause the video, look it up and understand it, then resume the video. Videos and text from old presentations also give you search terms to use with google to "find out more."

    Do not discount old-fashioned books as sources for learning. Some may even be suggested by speakers.

    After you heave learned "enough" consider buying tools and resources to test what you know. If you do not have enough money to build a lab, maybe you can build a mini-lab with Raspberry Pi, or install some sort of VM system on your computer and run tiny OS that you can test what you have learned. Work to add an OS and services with no security, break that through attack, then improve security, and try to defeat it, repeat this cycle to learn both sides: offense (red-team) and defense (blue team.)

    Beyond basic systems and services, you will probably want to learn some programming languages. Initially, scripting languages would be useful, but as you get into exploits, languages like Assembly, C/C++ would be better for understanding source code of many services, and how many attacks actually work.

    When you arrive at DEF CON expect there to be Thursday events, and expect there to be lines. Plan for these.

    Consider attending "DC101" or "DEF CON 101" which is an attempt at a presentation to introduce you to DEF CON, how things work, and advices on how to get the most out of your con. Some of this is silly, but that is because some of DEF CON is silly. There are party aspects to DEF CON as much as there are learning opportunities with people you meet, or contests/events/parties/villages/speaker-track-talks.

    About 2 to 3 months before con, start looking to see which talks, villages, contests, events, or social gatherings are happening, and make notes of those that interest you.

    Build a tentative schedule of those things that interest you, so that during any point of your con there are things you want-to, and can do, even if you choose not to do at the time. Be ready to dismiss anything you planned to do if something better comes up.

    Assuming you are going to be 17 next year, you may consider yourself "too old" for "DEF CON rootz" aka "Rootz Asylum" aka "DEF CON Kids" but you might want to compare what they have to the rest of con.

    HTH,
    -Cot

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