Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Programming Security The Internet Technology

Blackhat/Defcon Report 305

Posted by michael
from the neuromancer dept.
Joe Barr writes "NewsForge [ed. note: part of OSTG along with Slashdot] is running its concluding piece on the week-long Blackhat/DEFCON hackerfest in Las Vegas. Want to know how little our police/intelligence agencies seem to have learned from their failures prior to 9/11? Or how a very large goon known only as Priest prevented outright political violence at a DEFCON presentation on Civil Disobedience? Or which of the two conferences is right for you? It's all here in the Blackhat/Defcon: Final report." Reader M. Curphey writes "The Web Application Security Consortium (WASC) announced at Blackhat the release of a 'Threat Classifications' document. This document attempts to clarify web security terminology such as Cross Site Scripting, Session Fixation, Cookie poisoning, and HTTP response splitting (to name a few)."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Blackhat/Defcon Report

Comments Filter:
  • Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VeriTea (795384) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:06PM (#9869746) Journal
    Looks like the 503 Errors with Firefox are really slowing down discussions.

    The article mentioned that the new number range search feature in Google could be particularly dangerous. Maybe I'm a little naive... why is it so dangerous?
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Maestro4k (707634) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:17PM (#9869830) Journal
      • Looks like the 503 Errors with Firefox are really slowing down discussions.
      They're not just in Firefox, they're affecting everyone. Slashdot's been more like SlashNOT this week so far.
      • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Cramer (69040) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:51PM (#9870065) Homepage
        There have been a high number of occurances of 503's since the zero-notice updates a few weeks ago. (at the same time, all web pages started returning "no-cache" so simple brower navigation is forced to redownload every byte on every mouse click. When I logged a bug about this, it was immediately dismissed without comment.)
        • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DAldredge (2353)
          Hell, when I asked about it the remaining views on my /. sub went to ZERO. I had several hundred left and BOOM they where gone.
        • And the previous page/next page links have mysteriously vanished, as have the META NEXT/PREV links that make Firefox's link toolbar work. This is making Slashdot significantly harder for me to read.

          I've been giving serious thought as to writing a web page scraper for Slashdot so that you can browse it in a decent environment. The web front end is seriously beginning to suck.

          Is there anywhere appropriate where I can send comments? There seems to be no webmaster link anywhere. The 'Bugs' link off on the l

    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:33PM (#9869912)
      Try googling:

      visa 4356000000000000..4356999999999999

      For example. Not saying this is the only way to find these, but it certainly is an interesting application of Google.
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Funny)

      by SpaceLifeForm (228190)
      And 500 errors also. Though, those may be due to the server running out of the new coloured ink.
    • 503s with Safari here
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Informative)

      by garcia (6573) *
      The 503 errors were not just with Firefox. I was getting the same error while being logged in on either Firefox or IE. Only if I cleared my cookies and loaded the page would I be allowed to get past the 503.
  • Girls (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Klar (522420) <curchinNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:07PM (#9869749) Homepage Journal
    I have been thinking of going to defcon for the last lil while, and maybe will be able to next year. The trip would also need to include my g/f, she knows a bit about computers, but not a whole lot. In your opinion, would there be enough for her to do there, or should she venture other places?
    • Re:Girls (Score:2, Funny)

      by Aardpig (622459)

      I have been thinking of going to defcon for the last lil while, and maybe will be able to next year. The trip would also need to include my g/f, she knows a bit about computers, but not a whole lot. In your opinion, would there be enough for her to do there, or should she venture other places?

      If she's Ceren [spilth.org], go for it. Otherwise, don't bother.

    • I take my missus with me to Networld, and she has zero problems with hitting the casinos while I fart around in the convention halls.

    • Re:Girls (Score:4, Funny)

      by vegaspctech (769513) <vegaspctech@yahoo.com> on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:18PM (#9869839) Homepage Journal

      Bring a girl to defcon? Isn't that like bringing a pizza to a fat farm?

      ;-)

      Seriously, bring her along. If she doesn't like the event, there's plenty for her to do nearby.

      • Re:Girls (Score:3, Funny)

        by Otter (3800)
        Bring a girl to defcon? Isn't that like bringing a pizza to a fat farm?

        Actually, it's precisely like bringing a girl to a fat farm.

    • Re:Girls (Score:4, Informative)

      by DecoDragon (161394) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:23PM (#9869863)
      First off, there are females at DefCon, and not all of them are there, because they think it's an easy place to pick up guys.

      That said, have her look at the program and see if any of the talks are interesting to her. If she knows only a bit, maybe the technical talks won't be that interesting, but the talks that delve into the overlap between politics and technology might be of interest. I'm guessing if she's not that into it, the contests wouldn't be very fun to her.

      If it's not her thing at all, have her look and see if Vegas is something interesting to her, and she can join you later. But, I'd be more inclined to say, if it's not her thing, plan a different trip that both of you would enjoy before or after DefCon.
    • Re:Girls (Score:2, Interesting)

      by junk (33527)
      1) don't go to defcon, it's over. there hasn't been a good con for years

      2) if you fail to adhere to recommendation 1, don't bring your girlfriend. it's a very trying place as it is.

      3) if you fail to go with either recommendation, make sure you have a strong liver and a desire to not get anything useful out of a very expensive weekend

      Defcon died after 9, I'm just said it took me 'til 11 to fully realize it.
      • by Klar (522420)
        Defcon died after 9, I'm just said it took me 'til 11 to fully realize it.
        I haven't been able to attend one yet, but what exactly has 'died' about the confrence? Content, quality?
  • Struggling... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by perlglob (800781) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:07PM (#9869755)
    I've attended the past 7 defcons, and I'm starting to feel like it's losing its magic. The first defcon I went to (defcon 3) had a crowd that was much more focused on doing meaningful hacking (some ethical, some otherwise) in the field...it seems like now it's a bunch of 20 year olds who think they're hackers because they know how to reprogram their mac address on their linux labtop.

    Maybe I'm just getting old, but it feels like the good old days are passing me by.

    Who is fighting to save slashdot? [slashdot.org]
    • it sure is. I've been at the past 5. It sucks more and more each year. It's still always good to go to vegas and meet old and new friends and drink a lot of stuff.
  • by Maestro4k (707634) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:08PM (#9869763) Journal
    • Want to know how little our police/intelligence agencies seem to have learned from their failures prior to 9/11?
    I'm afraid we don't need Black Hat/Defcon to tell us this. Just yesterday we had major terrorism alerts about specific targets and today we find out the information was all years old. Does that mean the buildings weren't targets still? Well seeing as some of the info went back prior to 9/11 it would make it seem a fairly safe bet that the seriousness of the threat was vastly overstated.

    So we know what they haven't learned quite well and many of us keep hoping they'll stop crying wolf without good reason. It's only so long till most Americans start ignoring the terror alerts as things now stand, something that would be very bad.

    I'm sure there were plenty of more interesting things at Black Hat/Defcon though. :)

    • by Anonymous Coward
      today we find out the information was all years old

      I think all that means is that the terrorists are going on scouting missions. IOW, scout possible targets, determine some facts about them, etc. It's the same thing militaries have done for centuries: figure out what to attack and what impact it might have.

      The question is whether the targets scouted are still considered relevant by the terrorists. This is the type of stuff intelligence services need to find out, and in a timely manner. And if it is s
    • It's only so long till most Americans start ignoring the terror alerts as things now stand,. . .

      What do you mean start to ignore terror alerts? I haven't listened to one since the beginning!

      Cue the Herman Goering quote about keeping people in fear. . .

    • I think the big thing that the government did just learn is that the president can stand on TV and announce the creation of an "intelligence czar" and not one damned person in the room will jump up and say "So what in the name of the sweet baby Jebuz is Tom frigging Ridge, then? Huh?" That scares me more than the Al Quaedas, kids.
        • I think the big thing that the government did just learn is that the president can stand on TV and announce the creation of an "intelligence czar" and not one damned person in the room will jump up and say "So what in the name of the sweet baby Jebuz is Tom frigging Ridge, then? Huh?" That scares me more than the Al Quaedas, kids.

        Well I didn't jump up and say it but I've been wondering myself why we need one, as you point out, what's Tom Ridge for? I thought he, and his new department of Homeland Secu

        • Well I didn't jump up and say it but I've been wondering myself why we need one, as you point out, what's Tom Ridge for? I thought he, and his new department of Homeland Security, were supposed to at least coordinate info from various agencies.

          Putting aside the question of whether either position is a good idea, I don't quite get what you guys are so puzzled about. Homeland Security is supposed to maintain domestic security operations and, as you say, filter relevant intelligence info. It's not supposed to

        • The new intelligence czar is a response to the 9/11 commission report, where they specifically recommended such.

          Personally, I mislike the idea intensely, as it reminds me a bit much of J Edgar back in the day....

  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:08PM (#9869765) Journal
    ...it's easier to know how to break into a system/box/whatever, than it is to learn exactly what happened and take measures to prevent it.

    Sure, some items are fairly obvious, but I'm willing to wager that there are a lot of exploits that even dedicated security officials aren't aware of, simply because the exploit was found and put to use, but never reported.

    As it applies to 9/11, I'm fairly certain that OBL and his boys are more willing to shell out the cash for the folks who can find undiscovered vulns than for scripters who get their rocks off by passing around " 'sploits".

    Given this, I doubt there is too awful much one can learn about securing the network completely against future attacks.

    /P

    • by wayward (770747) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:18PM (#9869836)
      To paraphase Gene Spafford when he talked about the idea of hiring hackers as security experts, an arsonist isn't necessarily well-qualified to be on a fire department.
      • An arsonist just pours some gas and lights a match. That's more like what a script kiddie does. They just throw some exploits at random machines and try to install subseven. Obviously they don't know jack about security. A skilled hacker is more like an experienced thief. They use complex techiques to avoid detection, make surgical strikes at predetermined targets, and learn about their targets' security measures to more effectively neutralize them. Those people make good security experts.
        • One real security problem is that the complexity of attacks is increased, but the difficulty of launching them has decreased. The more skilled hackers create scripts or point-and-click tools, and the script kiddies can use them without having to know much about what they're doing. One book had a transcript of a conversation from an irc hacking channel, and some of the "hackers" seemed to be lacking in basic knowledge. For example, one of them wasn't too sure how to mount a second hard drive in Linux.

          I'
  • Crimethinc (Score:5, Insightful)

    by evslin (612024) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:14PM (#9869812)
    Questions were asked about what "going over the line" meant. Assclowns like Crimethinc are exactly what you'd want to point at and say "that's what I'm talking about." Disagreeing with the government (or even just Republicans) is one thing, but going around encouraging people to vandalize websites/etc is something else.

    Jesus. No wonder he looked like he was expecting to be arrested.
  • by phoxix (161744) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:16PM (#9869824)
    Can we get an official word on whats going on?

    Sunny Dubey
  • 9/11 lessons (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:22PM (#9869858)
    from the article:
    Christy had mentioned that one of the things they were doing at Defcon was recruiting. He went on to tell the crowd that if they were interested, and "had not gone over the line," to talk to him afterwards. The "had not gone over the line" comment became one of the hottest topics during the Q&A.

    It appears that the lessons the intelligence community has learned from 9/11 have not yet trickled all the way down through the federal bureaucracy -- particularly that bit about the failure of our intelligence pre-9/11 being primarily because of our loss of vital HUMINT owing to both budget and moral directives. When the CIA was told it could only use politically correct HUMINT operatives, it lost its most vital flow of intelligence.


    Actually, I think the remark in question -- "had not gone over the line" -- meant no the criminal record, stable finances, etc. required of regular government employees who need clearances, like programmers and sys admins. IOW, they were looking for technical staffers for work at HQ.

    The PC'ness at the CIA regarding HUMINT referred to who they could and couldn't hire as intelligence sources. E.g. (hypothetical examples here), several years ago, the CIA could hire a mid-level Iraqi military paper-pusher to smuggle out documents about what Saddam was up to, but at the same time couldn't hire a low-level al Qaeda operative to do the same because he's gone through terror training involving weapon experiments on animals. Even if the operative could give excrutiating details about the next terror strike (such as time/place/MO), he had done those evil experiments on animals, which somehow made him ineligible for the CIA payroll. (How such rules came into effect I dont know)

    Whether or not US intelligence has changed this since 9/11 I dont know the answer. I do know that one such scenario I described above was something discussed at length by news orgs immediately after 9/11 as speculation for why the US intelligence failed. (IMO, there shouldn't be such silly restrictions on who the CIA can hire as sources. If the source gives good info, pay him for it to encourage more. If he don't, or the stuff he gives is turns out to be unreliable, stop paying him.)

    But as for "going over the line" - for what the guy was looking for in personnel, he means things like ability to pee in a cup cleanly, unlike Ricky Williams, and not having a rap sheet.
    • I would agree with you in that the Feds are looking for those who are generally upstanding citizens who are not, and have not been, career criminals, before they filled out the application forms.

      What they leave out the picture are grayer operations, where they do in fact work with criminals. But such actions are almost always intended to catch bigger fish and not to compromise the security of the country as a whole. Recall the American truck driver who was a foot soldier for al Qaeda. (This was in the l
  • by Rufus88 (748752) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:23PM (#9869862)
    "We got the call for trouble in the room. The gentleman, I was told, was preaching sedition. I knew that we had to take some steps quickly preventing that. Defcon is definitely for free speech, definitely for legal civil disobedience. But not anarchy, not psychopathic destruction of property. " [Emphasis mine]

    Civil disobedience is, by definition, illegal. That's the whole point of it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:28PM (#9869878)
    How is it that the members of the most dovish American ideology when it comes to foreign policy always seem to be the ones for inciting violence against their domestic enemies? CrimeThinc (yes, I actually read the article) is just one of a long line stretching back to the Weatherman Underground and the SLA up to the Seattle WTO protestors smashing windows. Discounting lone nuts like Timothy McVee (and remember that the Oklahoma City bombing was universally condemned among conservatives), how is it that the half of America which owns guns is never the one calling for violence?

    Crow T. Trollbot
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:44PM (#9870004)
      There are some anti-abortion groups (on the conservative end of the spectrum) which advocate violence, and also militia groups (some of which McVeigh had contact with) which also advocate violence. There have been numerous other right-wing groups in America which have used violence against their political enemies - in the sixties there were more than a couple anti-war protesters that got their heads bashed in with axe handles. Also don't forget the various Civil Rights workers in the south during the 50s/60s who were murdered by folks who were definitely on the right-wing end of the spectrum.

      It's not as one sided as you make it out to be.
    • by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:48PM (#9870026) Homepage Journal
      how is it that the half of America which owns guns is never the one calling for violence?

      You've never heard of militias, have you? Listen to some of the right-wing crud that they spew and you'll see how wrong your comment is.

      Southern Michigan Regional Militia [michiganmilitia.org]
      Militia of Montana [militiaofmontana.com]

      Those are just two to get you started but feel free to do your own research.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Seattle WTO protestors smashing windows
      those weren't wto protestors, those were opportunistic vandals.
    • by FreeUser (11483) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:59PM (#9870141)
      How is it that the members of the most dovish American ideology when it comes to foreign policy always seem to be the ones for inciting violence against their domestic enemies?

      For the same reason that the radical right are always the ones who seem to be inciting violence against their domestic enemies. Tim McVee is hardly unique in his political stance and aspirations, nor have you cited anyone on the left that equals his level of destructiveness or intent (there are such people, but CrimeThinc is hardly of that caliber. He is not advocating mass murder).

      The reality is that the so-called political spectrum is more of a sphere than a line. The extreme right and far left meet and become one and the same. Consider the similiarities of Stalin and Hitler, for example. Kids blowing up toilets to protest vietnam bear a striking similiarity to skinheads defacing jewish tombstones. Republican thugs terrorizing librarians and volunteers during the Florida recount bear a striking resemblence to communists in China enforcing campus-wide political correctness vis-a-vis the One True Party(tm) system.

      Radicalism is radicalism, whether dressed in a Liberal Left or Reactionary Right attire, just as religious fundamentalism is religious fundamentalism irrespective of its Christian, Jewish, or Islamic trappings.

      You have simply chosen to filter your perceptions through your own political dogma, as many people on both sides of the aisle often do. However, the reality is that folks of all radical stripes, in all political, religious, social, and philosophical directions, employ similiar methods to achieve their goals, those methods correlating much more strongly to their degree of radicalism and fanaticism than their particular social, political, religious, or philosophical bent.
      • It's so well said, it deserves to be seen by more people...
      • by FreeUser (11483) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:16PM (#9870322)
        I wish one could go back and edit old posts. :-)

        I apologize for the sloppy use of language.

        If I had it to do over again, I would substitute zealotry for radicalism in the post above.

        There are many people with radical notions (where radical = divergence from the society's mainstream assumptions) who are not at all fanatical and would never resort to violent means to achieve those changes (Richard Stallman is an example of someone who is radical and stubborn, but not zealous or fanatical in any real sense of the word ... his detractor's rhetoric notwithstanding). Women's suffurage was at one time radical, but most of those persuing it were not fanatical and virtually everyone non-violent. This in contrast to those who fanatically defended the status quo and physically attacked and even murdered women for daring to insist on the same basic civil rights afforded the men of their day.

        So, to recap: the reality is that folks of all fanatical stripes, in all political, religious, social, and philosophical directions, employ similiar methods to achieve their goals, those methods correlating much more strongly to their degree of zealotry and fanaticism than their political, social, relgiious, or phisophical bent, or their degree of divergence from the political "mainstream."
      • The reality is that the so-called political spectrum is more of a sphere than a line. The extreme right and far left meet and become one and the same.

        This is extremely well said, and bears repeating. Extremists are always the ones most willing--even eager--to use violence to achieve their ends, no matter what those ends may be--and just because they're nominally "on your side" doesn't mean they merit support. Be it a nut blowing up an abortion clinic (I'm pro-life, and I still think they're nuts) or a
    • by edremy (36408) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:17PM (#9870333) Journal
      ...killing civil rights demonstrators, blowing up black girls attending churches and like as right wing violence your stats are pretty good. Oh yeah, and shooting abortion doctors, bombing the Olympics, killing Jewish schoolchildren [cnn.com], attacking gays [cnn.com], the OKC bombing....

      Yeah, the right wing is just *so* peaceful.

    • How is it that the members of the most dovish American ideology when it comes to foreign policy always seem to be the ones for inciting violence against their domestic enemies? CrimeThinc (yes, I actually read the article) is just one of a long line stretching back to the Weatherman Underground and the SLA up to the Seattle WTO protestors smashing windows. Discounting lone nuts like Timothy McVee (and remember that the Oklahoma City bombing was universally condemned among conservatives), how is it that the
    • by murr (214674) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:50PM (#9870638)
      CrimeThinc (yes, I actually read the article) is just one of a long line stretching back to the Weatherman Underground and the SLA up to the Seattle WTO protestors smashing windows.

      Setting bombs and robbing banks is hardly the same as smashing windows (not that I approve of either).

      Discounting lone nuts like Timothy McVee

      McVeigh.

      (and remember that the Oklahoma City bombing was universally condemned among conservatives)

      "condemned" like when Ann Coulter said "My only regret with
      Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building." ?

      how is it that the half of America which owns guns is never the one calling for violence?

      In my limited experience, the vast majority people who shoot other people tend to be in possession of guns at the time.

      It seems you've never heard of (to only quote a few examples from the last 20 years, long after the Weather Underground and the SLA went out of business):
      • The Order.
      • The various militias.
      • The World Church of the Creator.
      • The James Byrd murder.
      • The Matthew Shepard murder.
      • Numerous murdered abortion providers.
      • Eric Rudolph.
  • DC12 was my first DefCon, my only two gripes were the heat (us northerners are wimps) and the chronic lack of seating. It seeed that by Saturday afternoon much of the crowds had subsided, but there were still issues nonetheless. I'll definitely be going back next year with a bigger group.

    Possibly one of the highlights was getting pics of Woz and Mitnick standing a few feet apart from each other; with Woz on his Segway. Pretty cool.

  • Yes, I RTFA, and somehow I didn't see much about our intelligence agencies "not learning much since 9/11". I suppose the summary is referring to not hiring crackers that have done illegal stuff, but that's moronic -- if the NSA would reject someone for a job breaking into things BECAUSE they know how to break into things, we are all in big trouble.
  • Too crowded (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rorschach1 (174480) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @01:47PM (#9870019) Homepage
    I haven't been to Def Con in a couple of years. I went the first year they were at the Alexis Park, and it was OK. Went back the next year, and they'd clearly outgrown the venue. Wasn't able to get a seat for ANY of the talks.

    I don't know if they've signed some sort of long-term contract, or maybe they've just gotten kicked out of everywhere else, but I'm not going back until they get a considerably larger place.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @02:01PM (#9870169) Homepage Journal
    I would imagine that people by and large go to DefCon to learn HOW to do something not WHY. There appears to be a lot of faux anarcho posing going on as well as faux Fedcop speak in response.

    Only another anarchist or Fedcop would ever think that what an anarchist or Fedcop has to say is remotely interesting. I can't imagine anyone at DefCon suddenly deciding that either breaking thinks is kewl or that diversity of opinion has to be tolerated. Nor would I think that the self professed Grey-Hats are going to come out in favor of the PATRIOT act.

    When we all talk to a room full of people who are our clones it's got to get pretty boring.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Want to know how little our police/intelligence agencies seem to have learned from their failures prior to 9/11?"

    Wow - everyone except law enforcement has the answers it seems.

    Or maybe the reality is they've learned to NOT tell you what they've learned, finally.
  • by Dausha (546002) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @04:41PM (#9871759) Homepage
    In the article, there was a section discussing "Meet the Feds." From that section, I quote: "The Patriot Act was also called into question by attendees. The FBI representative asserted that just because the act had been passed didn't mean they had carte blanche to surveil anyone they wanted, that judges still had approve their requests. That reasoning only flew so far, however, as the questioner pointed out that such requests by the FBI are always approved, never denied."

    What we tend to forget is that, even in the Judicial system, there is a check-and-balance--especially when it comes to warrants. While a judge may allow a warrant, if a case ever goes to trial then a jury has an opportunity to nullify the value of any evidence obtained via a warrant. I know that sounds a little naiive, but this is one purpose of the jury--injecting the People into the judicial process to protect an accused from the Government. The jury is the key point in the process that is not absolutely Government controlled.

    However, the attendees brought issue with the fact that "judges always approve." There was a landmark case (granted, it was in the early 18th C. in England) that allowed a victim to bring suit. The victim in question owned a printing press that printed pamphlets hostile to the Crown (or was it Parliment?). The Government responded by obtaining an ill-gotten warrant to wield as a weapon to silence him. However, the man suied and won a substancial sum. I think the right words were something to the effect of "a suitably painfully high sum to deter the Government from pursuing that line of action again."

    Anyway, I'd like to point out that there are recourses of action for virtually anybody mis-treated by a ill-gotten warrant that are built into our legal system. Even if the judge always approve, there is the jury to help shield, and the precedence to file suit when abused. (I'd also like to point out that this is a common tactic by those justly prosecuted to try to wear down the government by attrition.)

"Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company." -- Mark Twain

Working...