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  • Spot The Fed

    Okay, just curious but would any one have any suggestions on how to stop a fed? now i know this is just a little game to see if anyone really can pick a fed out of a group of people - but any hints, tips, body behavior to look for? just curious

  • #2
    Originally posted by Rebourne
    Okay, just curious but would any one have any suggestions on how to stop a fed?

    Well, seeing as they probably will have a gun, I won't personally try to "stop" any FEDs.

    LosT

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Rebourne
      Okay, just curious but would any one have any suggestions on how to stop a fed? now i know this is just a little game to see if anyone really can pick a fed out of a group of people - but any hints, tips, body behavior to look for? just curious
      pay attention to the shoes! Penny loafers, hush puppies... wait maybe my dads a fed!?
      If there is a Church of WiFi, then this is it's !

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Rebourne
        Okay, just curious but would any one have any suggestions on how to stop a fed? now i know this is just a little game to see if anyone really can pick a fed out of a group of people - but any hints, tips, body behavior to look for? just curious
        Google is your friend:
        Hit #1:
        Originally posted by CDC
        HINTS FOR FEDS: A few hints so you can survive longer. (1) If you
        have to carry a firearm, don't use the "Gunnysacks." The butt packs
        are easy to spot with their long zippers. (2) Try not to have a
        military style haircut. Dead giveaways. (3) Use of the word
        "Affirmative" and "Negative" don't help your undercover personae.
        (4) Drink a lot. I mean A LOT. No one will suspect you as a
        drunken agent of law enforcement! (this is one of my better tips.)

        One whole slew of feds was spotted by someone when the feds'
        supervisor came into the hall and mentioned to their companion "One
        of my guys was already spotted." Doh! The contest winner just
        followed him to his group, and won their shirt with FOX Television
        from L.A. filming the whole thing. The spotted feds were cool with
        it, accepting their shirts.. but I think they left early.
        And another from google:

        Originally posted by DC3_announcement
        If you see some shady MB
        (Men in Black) earphone penny loafer sunglass wearing Clint
        Eastwood to live and die in L.A. type lurking about, point him
        out.
        Age is a big filter. Many Fed will be at least 22 but younger than 55. This helps eliminate some people. (Some will argue that there are people in the Military who are 18 to 21, but my response to this is, just because they are in the military does not mean the crowd will side with accepting them as a Fed. Those people who are employed as fed who also deal with telecommunication/eavesdropping, computer crime, computer security, etc. are the ones who are mostly considered "Fed" during the voting cycles. Also, to be a fed in many orgs requires a 4 Year Degree (or better.))

        Haircut: this can help, but the obvious "crew cut" is generally a military thing. As for business person haircut, you will get false positives with many corps sending people to DefCon for the talks.

        *Feds hang together: Once you spot one fed, it may be easier to find more. Follow them and see who they visit. If they show-off their shirt to people they obviously know, consider them more likely to be a fed.

        Watch Priest in the early part of the Con. Some fed will contact him and ask him to put the word out that they are hiring and want to seek new talent. Some will also contact him for swaps of in-house goodies (mugs, etc. from their TLA) for "I am The Fed" shirts. (Note: I am not saying, "Follow Priest." If you do this, and he finds you annoying, then the result of your actions are your own.)

        If someone is plastered drunk, then they are less likely to be a Fed.

        Fanny packs worn on the front were a common "give-away" in the earlier years, but as time marched on, there were several false positives. Now, it seems less useful than it was, but can be a plus in helping you score a potential fed.

        Look at the shoes. (No more details should be required here.) [I see someone beat me to this one while I was composing.]

        At one time, the clothing was a good sign. There were people in black tees, and then there were people who were likely Feds or with law enforcement. In the earlier DC, almost all attendees wore the black tees you see for sale. During DC 5, I would estimate 85% of the crowd had black tees-- of course, in the early cons, people would fill the speaking rooms with cigarette smoke thicker than LA smog too. Clothing is not as good of an indicator as it was. (Ug! Feds getting smarter!)

        Observe the cars that are driven to the hotels by people and associate them. If you see a car which is *obviously* a government vehicle, that is a good sign. (Plates have been a good giveaway in the past, but this too is changing. [Look for special stickers or decals. Do not deface cars.])

        Look at the hotels where a person is staying. In the past, many have stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, but there have been some at Amerisuites too.

        That is enough for now. You should really focus on your questions to ask the possible fed. Questions when answered truthfully (other than ones like "Are you a fed" and "Do you work for the government" and "do you work for a TLA") will help you to identify someone as a fed or not.

        [Edit: Added content above, in [ ], fixed spelling, added content below]

        Things change over time. Once a collection of clues for spotting a fed is announced, feds also have a list of things to consider in *avoiding* being spotted. To make matters worse, there are some people who want to be spotted as a fed even though they are not feds. These [people] will use the above to try to act like feds.

        Good luck!
        Last edited by TheCotMan; June 24, 2004, 02:29. Reason: fix some bad grammar, added content in [ ]

        Comment


        • #5
          On a different note.. what exactly constitutes as a fed? Government federal agent only? Or can city/county law enforcement qualify? Do they have to have arrest powers, or can they be an admin for the prison system, etc.
          Happiness is a belt-fed weapon.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by che
            On a different note.. what exactly constitutes as a fed? Government federal agent only? Or can city/county law enforcement qualify? Do they have to have arrest powers, or can they be an admin for the prison system, etc.
            In the past, it has been left up to the audience after hearing questions asked of the person to decide if the person was a fed. Earlier DC included decisions from the crowd that local police, state police and county sherrif were sometimes included as "fed" with increased chances of this if their duties were specific to computer crime. Over the years, there has been less acceptance for city and state police or county sherrif to be counted as feds. Also, over the years, it has come down to more of what the person who is handing out the Tee's thinks about the person than the crowd's vote.

            I have also seen earlier cons where people who were just in the military score, "I'm the Fed," tee shirts, but later DC seem to want people who work for TLA in the federal government. However, it is not just limited to the U.S. government; Historically, several people who were found as "feds" for foreign countries were given "I'm the Fed" tee shirts as well.

            Comment


            • #7
              I saw two NSA guys get spotted at DC9. That was interesting.

              I also saw about 20 guys chatting by the pool, then one dude walks by, went up to one of the group and said, "Do all these people know you're a fed?" By the silence, the answer was a resounding NO. It was pretty funny.

              Oh if you want to know what your blood feels like on the outisde of your body, take pictures with your camera during Spot the Fed. Priest will disassembled you and mail you home in baggies.

              Comment


              • #8
                [This post has been altered to include suggestions made by one or more people in this thread rather than create a new post and copy the content]

                Originally posted by TheCotMan
                Look at the hotels where a person is staying. In the past, many have stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, but there have been some at Amerisuites too.
                (I would have included this with my first post, but forgot about it until now. Sorry for replying to myself. Consider it a sequel to the first post.)

                During DC10, my crew (informal collection of friends, not a "hacker group") found many Government plates at the MGM and Hilton. We actually found two guys in a <G> vehicle but they turned out the be with the National Parks Services and would not have been counted as fed in a spot the fed contest. Even though we spotted many of these kinds of cars, we did not have a genuine interest in getting any free tee shirts. We discussed the possibility of Feds to try to get hotels far from ground zero and share Taxi to DC so as to avoid overzealous pranksters.

                I did make a mental note of it but during the process of learning other things, a memory leak was created in my brain when that pointer for the address of this data was reassigned a new address. (Bummer.) However, during a garbage collection cycle (a friend reminded me about this event) the memory was reclaimed and gdm permitted me to set a breakpoint before free and explore the contents and copy them out before this child process exited. Now the data has been pushed to a very slow access media (a web forum instead of a faster medium like local disk or virtual memory (my liver? gah. this symbolism is not working very well.)

                Other items that I forgot about until talking with my friend:

                One of the more painful things to watch at DefCon is when a less clueful person believes they have spotted a fed, but have no questions to ask the person to see if they really are a fed. It sometimes goes likes this:
                Priest: Why do you think this person is a fed
                Spotter: Because he-ahhh look-ah, like-ah-fed! (MAD TV Impression here)
                Priest: (stares at audience for a bit) Do you have any questions you would like to ask them?
                Spotter: Ummmm... Uh.......
                Priest: How eloquent. (Insert some unkind remark about the Spotter)

                DON'T LET THIS BE YOU!

                Think about what makes you think the person is a fed. Think about questions you want to ask them!

                Questions to ask a person to see if they are a Fed.

                1) Are you paid by your employer only once per month, or more often? (not a guarantee, but can help since only the state and feds can break common U.S. state laws requiring businesses to pay employees more often.)
                [The above question is not ideal as it can create false positives, and does not really help much. It is replaced with: (Thanks to Not5150 for this suggested change.)
                1) Does your employer force you to have direct deposit]

                2) Do you have a clearance level which is described by a Single alphabetic letter? (e.g. "Q")
                3) Does your payscale conform to a lookup table with a key of two letters followed by an integer with a step increase? (I.E. GS1 step 1, GS1-GS15 Step 1-10) [There is no guarantee that a "no" answer to this question will rule out a suspected fed, but an honest "yes" should indicate only federal employee and not necessarily be a "FED" according to the game] (Thanks to astcell for pointing this out below :-)
                4) Did your employer pay you to attend an intensive training program before you completed probation for full employment? (Camps and education centers like those from the CIA and FBI)
                5) Do you have FEGLI?
                6) Do you pay into CSRS or FERS [PARA and ICMA]? (Thanks to Lil_Freak :-)
                7) Are you legally permitted to carry a concealed handgun across state lines and into various cities and National Parks without requesting a concealed weapons permit at each location you visit?

                [This next question is a bad question: (Thanks again to Not5150! :-)]
                8) Do you have powers of arrest beyond those of an ordinary U.S. citizen?
                [The above question is replaced with:
                8) Does the law restrict your ability to gather evidence legally admissable in court for a possible investigation more than any other civillians?]

                9) Have you memorized statement of Miranda Rights for the purpose of arrest?

                Some of the above may not be allowed as they run dreadfully close to "do you work for the government?"

                But now you have some ideas from which to create your own questions in time for DC12.

                Before you spot a fed, think about what you will say to convince an audience. If you don't, I will be the one in the audience laughing hardest at your misfortune.



                [Edit: Based on feedback from not5150 (see posts later in this thread) the list is altered above to show what is removed and replaced. The items which have been updated are above in [ ] and below this point]


                I have some suggestions from a source that desires to remain anonymous but am only including a few of these as I do not want to make it too easy for fake-feds to fake it:
                Originally posted by anonymous_source
                Methods to differentiate between (local/state police or sherrif) or (Feds):
                10) Are you familar with Terry v. Ohio?

                11) Are you familar with the Weeks v. United States?
                (Thanks to the person who wishes to remain anonymous.)
                [Of course you will want them to explain how each of these impact their work]
                Last edited by TheCotMan; June 25, 2004, 12:12. Reason: Added content

                Comment


                • #9
                  1) Are you paid by your employer only once per month, or more often? (not a guarantee, but can help since only the state and feds can break common U.S. state laws requiring businesses to pay employees more often.)

                  This won't work well in detecting FEDs. A better question may be

                  Are you required to have automatic deposit?

                  8) Do you have powers of arrest beyond those of an ordinary U.S. citizen?

                  This question will NOT help you in detecting a FED. Most law enforcement know that a citizen has MORE arrest powers.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by not5150
                    1) Are you paid by your employer only once per month, or more often? (not a guarantee, but can help since only the state and feds can break common U.S. state laws requiring businesses to pay employees more often.)

                    This won't work well in detecting FEDs. A better question may be

                    Are you required to have automatic deposit?
                    Good idea.

                    8) Do you have powers of arrest beyond those of an ordinary U.S. citizen?

                    This question will NOT help you in detecting a FED. Most law enforcement know that a citizen has MORE arrest powers.
                    I was looking to cover the angle of "detaining someone against their will without notification of law enforcement" as a risk to being considered kidnapping if a civillian did this (even in the light of aleged comission of a crime) vs. law enforcement detention under arrest and its implicit notification of law enforcement.

                    As a civillian, there is an effective limit to how long I can hold someone who I place under Citizen's Arrest for a crime I believe they have committed without my taking the time to contact law enforcement, where excession of this limit places me at risk for being arrested. Once law enforcement is contacted, the time for detention can change. Also, any injury to the person arrested exposes the civillian to greater risk of arrest and lawsuit than injury to the person arrested by a law enforcement officer who may have legal support through their employer and limits to how the person arrested may follow through with their claims of abuse.

                    Your point is well taken though on issues of Miranda, collection of evidence (chain of legal acquision), how long a person can be held without being charged, etc. Further examples on your side might include bounty hunters.

                    This is a bad question, and I'll look to replace it...

                    How about:
                    9) Does the law restrict your ability to gather evidence legally admissable in court for a possible investigation more than any other civillians?

                    Certainly, this is more of a law enforcement Q, but may help with the other Q's above.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yes 9 is a much better question

                      I agree... bounty hunters are a very grey area. Depending on what case law you look at, they have IMMENSE power.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by not5150
                        Yes 9 is a much better question

                        I agree... bounty hunters are a very grey area. Depending on what case law you look at, they have IMMENSE power.
                        Excellent. Hey, thanks for the suggestions and input to make the information accurate. :-)

                        Instead of copying the changes down, I have altered the original post and cited references to you for your contributions in this thread, and obvious markers to show what content is not good, and where it was replaced so thread continuity is maintained. (They are my mistakes dammit, and I'll leave them there for all to see!)

                        Any other suggestions will lead to mods to the original. This will not be stated later in the thread if it comes up again.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TheCotMan
                          6) Do you pay into CSRS or FERS?

                          You should also add PARA and ICMA into this group, a lot of employees can now pay into one of these as well.
                          "It is difficult not to wonder whether that combination of elements which produces a machine for labor does not create also a soul of sorts, a dull resentful metallic will, which can rebel at times". Pearl S. Buck

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                          • #14
                            Last time I heard, the CIA does not have powers of arrest. And the pay scale is not a sure thing either, there are exempt categories as well.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by astcell
                              And the pay scale is not a sure thing either, there are exempt categories as well.
                              Hmmm. You mean like "certain contract employees" and people into wetwork?

                              Heh. This thread is really cool. Everyone is contributing to provide people with a nice list of suggestions for the contest to help those who wish to be informed.

                              I've been trying to come up with questions for people who would be considered Fed but are not NSA, FBI, CIA or IRS, but am having a more difficult time coming up with general questions. It is possible to come up with specific questions that target each agency based on their assigned task, but then we would have a lot more questions.

                              We may have enough hints to help people to generate their own questions. (We don't want to make it too easy for people to play this game.)

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