Over the weekend, I got my second taste of B-Sides. This time Drexel University in Philadelphia played host to the 2nd annual B-Sides Philly.
Much like the event in April, I got a good cross-section of technical and non-technical information to ponder. The event began with the keynote, given by a speaker I had heard in Rochester. Ernest Wong, from the US Military Academy, gave a talk on “Innovating for 21st Century Warfare”. Though the examples he used for innovation were the original “Mission Impossible” and the movie “Top Gun”. The speech that bored me in Rochester, was downright interesting.
The next talk was on Russian Information Operations and how much of it is social engineering. I couldn’t help see a lot of similarities between the tactics Russia is using and the tactics Trump, Fox News, etc are using on the minions in the mobile estates, etc. This was interesting enough that I actually streamed it for a fellow activist:
Now it was time to get logged into the system a bit, with a talk on the Unix, etc command line called “Out With The Old–In With the GNU.” A look at how people often use commands that they have learned or are familiar with, without looking for alternatives. This can lead to ‘fingerprints’ that can be used to track and trace a user, and the talk was on how to avoid leaving such a trail.
The next topic I explored is something I could see my fellow activists being interested in, “Disinformation and Hiding Personal Information”. Trump will eventually tighten the grip on “The Resistance”, and being able to go incognito may be something that needs to be explored. Oddly enough the “Dark Web” was not brought up either in the talk or the questions.
I broke for lunch and then explored the vendors room, where I got some business cards that I plan to follow up on once I get my Security+ Certification.
The afternoon session brought a talk on ransomware that was interrupted by a fire alarm and a very quick introduction to a web security dojo.
I managed to save the best for last, with a talk on how there’s common ground between improv comedy and social engineering that has me looking at reaching out to a local improv theater troupe and finally a talk on the mind of a hacker that was a bit chilling.
The closing remarks brought a surprise for me. I am now the proud owner of a Bitcoin wallet; it’s really more like a personal vault, and there’s the matter of me learning how to get some cryptocurrency into it.
I hope to return for 2018, but may leave the driving to Amtrak.