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From The Floor At Defcon 8 75

It appears that ZDtv is doing some fairly major co verage of Defcon. They've got the works - some text reporting, as well as streaming video from the floor and speakers, from what I can see. It's not being there, but heck, you're at least one less degree separated.
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From the Floor at Defcon 8

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  • Never in my life have I ever seen heterosexuals express their happiness by stating they are gay.

    Computer enthusiasts/hobbyists/programmers should really buy a clue on this one and give it up. To the masses, "hacker" == "cracker", and that's the end of it.

    Oh, and worms/trojans are "viruses", too. When science and technology come to the masses, "the field" and the "real world" are going to come into conflict. Many people still think a quantum leap is REALLY BIG...
  • I had the opportunity to work with both Dr. Greg White ("USAFA Cadet Hacking") and Mr. Dave DiCenso ("Citizen Hacker") while at school. They are both excellent briefers, and should have a LOT of good information to present. (Disclaimer: I'm at work now, and can't get the RealVideo stream... Gotta get home to see it! So I haven't had a chance to see the videos yet.) I talked with Dr. White on the case he's speaking about a few weeks ago, and he presents his arguments from a very neutral perspective. Don't think that because he used to work for "they"/"the man"/etc, that he's slanted towards their perspective. Anyone who might be in a position to legally confront a cracking suspect (in ANY capacity) should definitely check out his briefing.
    Mr. DiCenso's topic should also be great. He's a former law instructor (and a lawyer), and taught one of the first-ever CyberLaw courses. If you are in the least bit interested in security/hacking/cracking and the social/legal/ethical implications of them, you should check his section out.
    And yes, I do feel pretty damn cool that I have been able to work with these cool people... I guess I'm human after all!
  • it's a "feature". seems to happen whenever a link runs too long, like so: http://www.thislinkshouldn'thaveaspa ceinit.com [thislinksh...ceinit.com]

    looks like slashcode always puts in a space after 90 continuous characters whether it's in the middle of a link or not.
    attempts to give a better example set off the "lameness filter". (thanks, rob!)

  • Yes but did you notice how its moderated up to 2 already? Hmm...
  • Slashdot most likely breaks words longer than a specified length into two words by adding a space. The A HREF= tag was probably pretty long.
  • Conferences in generall are really good. They allow people with a simular interest to meet and change ideas even if a lot of it is garbage. In the end it's for you to make the decision as to what is useful. I really didn't like Jurassic Park 2 (The Lost World) mainly because there was so much media hype even though it was exactly the same as Jurassic Park (1). People attiudes change, influenced by the media. Don't let them change you! As for Defcon, never been. Live in Australia but am planing to go sometime with a friend.
  • I think it's just you :-). Seriously, the old guard always hates the transformations wrought by the arrivistes. I myself have been known to utter a curse or two about what Usenet has become compared to its heydays (IMHO) of 1980-1994. Probably someone loving it today will be bitching about what a sewer it is in 2005. It's just the way the world works. (COMDEX - what a zoo. I stood in line for over an hour to get into the last one. I may boycott the next one with you.)
  • Spot the Fed will have to be replaced by spot the hacker come next year. I was talking with Priest and he estimated well over 6000 attendees this year- almost twice Defcon 7, which was too big as it was. It was overly crowded, and while many of the presentations were top-notch (the mojonation and freenet), there were just TOO MANY PEOPLE.

  • by qnonsense ( 12235 ) on Monday July 31, 2000 @07:31AM (#892102)
    Your toddler raises an interesting point. He cannot see the objective differnce between chips and flakes. To him they are the same shape and therefore the same thing.

    In this case the media and the general public are no better informed as your toddler. To them there is no objective difference between hackers and crackers. And there never will be. The differece is only useful to "technical types".

    "Cracker" may retain use in the technical community, but it has no meaning in the outside world. To the media, they (hackers/crackers, we, you, whatever) are hackers. Period.
  • I post at +2 automatically. One would have to click the "No Score +1 Bonus" box in order to not post at +2.

  • St. Louis is not easily accessed....it's just equally inaccessible for everyone.
  • LAS VEGAS, July 28 -- Nearly 5,000 hackers are gathering here to take part in the computer underground's largest annual love-fest, Def Con.
    I love how in touch MSNBC is with the computer underground.
  • Err.. well hes not exactly well known so I felt the inclusion of his title might make a difference to someone somewhere, obviosuly it has just in a negative way.

    If you think education is expensive, try ignornace
  • I have some pictures taken at DefCon here: http://defcon.gamelet.com [gamelet.com] Take a look ;)

  • corporations and government have tried to quantify and manipulate the underground, only to find that this is impossible because it changes so rapidly

    Well that's all fine and dandy for you, but what about those of us who define ourselves by how we're perceived by others? ;-) I like to use the word 'commoditize'.

    its already old hat to us, and we've tired with it and are moving on to something else...

    True to an extent: I would like to see some more discussion on something other than stack smashing and DoS studies. Since I know practically zero about networks (which means that to me most of the Phrack/2600 discussions are complete gibberish!) I'm sort of bummed because it seems to be the majority of the content out there. Personally, I purposefully avoid studying networks for same reason I don't own a gun...

  • This is sort of like the "Burning Man festival". That started off as a underground party in the middle of the desert. It was run by no one, you just had to show up and party. Now you have to pay to get in and there are some corps who sponser it.... YECK

  • Sorry, had some DNS refresh issues, try now.
  • by technos ( 73414 ) on Monday July 31, 2000 @07:01AM (#892111) Homepage Journal
    Great, and I had to miss it. Vegas is always damn fun. Add to that a thousand morally-flexible, half-intoxicated geeks looking for fun and a good hack at all hours of the day and night, and it's too good to miss!

    "One hotel ice bucket, three two liter bottles of Dew, a pound of mashed potatoes from room service, gaffers tape, and thirteen paperclips. Sounds like we have all the parts for world domination, boys! Let's get to work!"
  • by FascDot Killed My Pr ( 24021 ) on Monday July 31, 2000 @07:07AM (#892112)
    It's natural, therefore it's good?

    My 18 month-old knows the word "chip", but doesn't realize that flaked cereals aren't chips. So shen he wants some raisin bran, he asks for "chips". What if we all started saying "chip" when we meant either chips OR flaked cereals? We would lose a useful shade of meaning. Point: Words are not just labels, they are differentiators.

    There is an objective difference between hackers and crackers. Calling both by the same name destroys the ability to talk about them easily. This ability is not much prized (or even noticed) by the general public (including the mainstream media), but it IS useful to technical types. That's why I, as a technical type, resist this change.
  • Probably any guy running an nmap gets written up as a "transnational attack".
  • Why is it that these are never held in easily accessed locations? Like, say, St. Louis?
  • by dillon_rinker ( 17944 ) on Monday July 31, 2000 @07:32AM (#892115) Homepage
    It's natural, therefore it's good?
    The post you are responding to was not a defense of the usage of "hacker" vs "cracker"; it was an exposition of the way langauge works. It is pretty common for technical terms to enter common usage. Often, the common definition is incorrect from a technical perspective. It works the other way to, with terms going from common to technical usage. "Hacker" is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Every old definition I can find suggests doing something poorly. A bad writer is a hack. A bad cough is a hack. Hacking at meat or wood or golf balls indicates the hacker's inability to do any better.

    My own pet peeve is "imaginary," as in "imaginary number." There is nothing imaginary about them. They are just as real, and just as abstract, as the so-called real numbers. Yet the term, despite its incorrect connotations, persists.

    Anyway, like it or not, "hacker" in its mainstream usage, means someone who cracks computer systems. Don't try to enforce technical definitions on people who have no need for them, and don't try to reengineer the language. Feel free to ignore me (I know you do anyway :), but realize that trying to explain to non-techs the difference between hacking and cracking is pretty pointless.
  • As soon as the majority of the population starts agreeing with your son, then yes we will call raisin bran chips.

    I agree that there is and should be a distinction between the two, but it is time to admit defeat on this on and come up with some new terms.

    We can resist this change all we want, but that isn't going to keep it from happening.

  • > Why do links on slashdot often have a space in the linked word?

    It's a bu g.

  • Um, note that that article was about DefCon 5. This year was DefCon 8. Plus, the Aladdin was closed during the con this year.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Both views are correct.

    One could interpret the growing popularity of DefCon and other cons as not beneficial but a dilution of the serious hacking community. More people come to the cons now, and so they are catering to the lowest common denominator..

    There were certainly more people there who don't have as much of a clue. There was also a trend that I disliked...The really bright people who were very visible @ black hat were basically abscent from defcon. They were still in town. They may even have been hanging out will friends at the Alexis, but it would be in a suite, not out where they interacted with the little people. (the obvious exception to this trend were the ones who were giving talks in the "Uber-haxor" track). A lot fewer hard-core hackers were involved with defcon than in previous years

    by Mark A. Rhowe
    It's unbelieveable how much they have grown and the audience that they have gained. It's now, as one would say "taken seriously."

    Defcon is certainly being taken seriously. There were more attempts by feds to recruit (though not as bloody obvious as the recruiting happening at black hat). There were also a lot of middle aged folks, largely conservative in dress and manner, who had come to learn. I suppose that is valid, because some of the talks (like the ones by Greg Hoglund, ghandi or Phil King) were *VERY* technical. This new class of defcon attendee moderated the recent influx of script kiddies, but they also dampened some of the party atmosphere

  • Do doctors sit around saying "Kevorkian and Mengele weren't doctors, they were murderers?"

    No, the were doctors who killed. They were still doctors (aside - I am not anti-Kevorkian.)

    The trouble with the hacker/cracker distinction as made by hackers is that it is too self-serving, and relies on a simplistic good-vs-bad dichotamy.

    For most people, including many technical people, a hacker is anyone with a high level of technical understanding, whether or not they are a programmer. People who break into computer systems, *if they understand what they are doing* (and more do than the vanities of some would like to admit) are hackers-who-crack. What makes the press identify them as hackers is that they know more about systems and security than the media or the public at large.

    Arguably, there are also many programmers who aren't hackers - programmers who rely on pre-canned libraries and hand-holding IDE's to develop what they want, without the intellectual curiousity to look under the hood or cultivate an understanding of the principles beneath the program.

    I will endorse a distinction between possibly-miscreant-but-knowledgeable/curious hacker-who-cracks and miscreant-and-nasty non-hacker script-kiddy who uses canned exploits to annoy people and impress the ignorant, but I can't endorse a naive effort to simply say 'hacker good, cracker bad.'

  • "To them there is no objective difference between hackers and crackers."


    "And there never will be. The differece is only useful to "technical types"."


    What if I went to my son and said "Look this *holding up a Ruffle* is a chip--but this *holding up a bran flake* is cereal". After several repetitions he would start using the words although he still wouldn't understand the difference. But there is an immediate gain: *I* know what he means when he asks for "chips". He means chips. If he wanted raisin bran he'd ask for "cereal". Eventually there will be another gain--he'll understand the difference. This will give him power of thought/expression previously unavailable to him. He will know that Special K is cereal while Fritos are chips without having to be told.

    The same for the media. Just because they don't currently differentiate between hackers and crackers doesn't mean they wouldn't benefit from doing so. Imagine if we didn't have the distinction between "inventor" and "mad scientist". Edison and Frankenstein would have been lumped together in the "tech news" section of the newspaper with the confused readers not knowing that "lightbulbs are good, rampaging monsters are bad".

    Yes, language evolves. But language evolution is only useful when it conserves (or extends) granularity of meaning. We can drop the difference between the terms "rock-to-hit-enemy-on-head-with" and "rock-to-sharpen-with" because we don't need those meanings. We can't drop the difference between "hacker" and "cracker" just when network security is becoming a life and death matter.
  • And just remember, there's a four year contract with the Alexis Park. Woo. Two more years of teeny tiny conference rooms.
  • I agree.

    I think if a hacker society wanted to call themselves 'undergound', we wouldn't see in-depth coverage about them in every major news publication. Of course, one could argue that the media is just good at covering these secret groups, but judging by the (a) size of DEFCON and (b) how cool it is to be perceived as a hacker... you get my point...

  • Anyone who cracks into the blood supply data to reverse polarity has a serious mental/social development problems. Don't call yourslef a hacker or a cracker. Call yourself a terrorist. May you reap what you sow.
  • Presumably there's supposed to be a comma after warez, so it would be "hide your warez, dudes." Does that make any more sense?
  • Yah, I think we'll have to expand into the rest of the hotel's facilities, or reorganize those we have. Stick the vendors somewhere else, the CTF crowd in the small room (uberhaxor, then the newbie area this year) and generally organize and predict which talks will be the most attended better.

    They have more space, it just is paying for it I'd imagine.

  • I've put up some of my DEFCON pics [daimyo.org]. I promised someone I'd post this pictur e of a random drunk guy [daimyo.org]. Whoever you are, I've kept my promise. Have fun. :)
  • I don't really see much use for the term 'cracker'. Perhaps if you were talking about a bunch of hackers and wanted to distinguish between them, indicating one who was more interested in system breaking than other hackerly pursuits, sure, but for general use, just saying 'hacker' indicates better than you're talking about someone with knowledge of the guts of a system.

    If I was to look for a distinction to be made it'd be between hackers (people who know what they're doing) and script-kiddies (people who use canned programs without understanding them). But even still, I realize it's not a useful distinction to most people, you'd only specify when the difference was important, for instance if your computer had been compromised, or you were looking to compromise a computer... If you wanted to close out an attacker it'd be different if you thought they had no technical knowledge, in which case you'd simply block whatever root-kit they used and then clean up later. To block out a master hacker you'd have to consider that they may have written many back doors, all new, and that they may have told the system to play 'clean' for a while then connect to another invaded computer to download a new set of backdoors... It'd be a completely different battle depending on who you faced.

  • Curse the need to make money for binding me to an office this week. DEFCONs tend to be pretty cool. It's unbelieveable how much they have grown and the audience that they have gained. It's now, as one would say "taken seriously."

  • Looks like an interesting one this year. I wish I was there. The 'Civilian Hacker' lecture is particularly intriguing. Hmmm, I wonder if I could write off the trip to Vegas as a 'business trip'. >:)


  • I wrote up a report of my experiences at Defcon from Friday to Sunday.
    It's available here [www.xsta.cc].

    "Overseas, our job is to violate people's rights, break things and kill.
    Domestically, it's different...
    DoD official at Defcon 8
  • Uh, what was so troll about that. Defcon isssss a bunch of script kiddies, I've been there. So before some moderator decides that my comments were un-true, and un-worthy of defcon, they should go too. All they do is walk around on the floor, pirate software, distribute exploit programs, and trade pr0n. What's so 313373 about that? (Btw, I know their are some good security experts @ defcon, but they are farrrr out-numbered by little rich kid pr0n trafficing script kiddies). And just because someone posted something inappropriate in reply to my comment shouldn't get me mod'ed down. If I really wanted to troll, I would have posted Anon. So why the hell did that get a troll flag?
  • by noahm ( 4459 ) on Monday July 31, 2000 @06:32AM (#892133) Homepage Journal
    I submitted this link to slashdot earlier today, but since they've posted this story they're not likely to post mine. So here it is [msnbc.com]. The article covers the Black Hat Briefing sub-conference and talks a bit about just how crazy the corporations are about finding decent security people. Definitely a decent article.

  • It's just like the way Slashdot has evolved: the more it grows and the more audience it gains, the LESS it is taken seriously, particularly by the nerd and geek community for which it is intended.

  • My Defcon notes:
    Defcon 8 was lamer and cooler than previous years. Of course, a lame Defcon is still a kick ass event to goto, so shame on the list members that missed out because of some prissy excuse like "my job wouldnt give me time off". Pshaw.

    High points: - noise's nervously delivered speech on anon remailers turned out to be pretty informative, and spurred a whole bunch of people to at least think about setting up their own remailers (and enlightened people on topics such as MixMaster).
    - An incredibly well put together lecture on buffer overflows, which IMHO was useful for just about everyone at the 'Con, even people who look for such things, just because of his preparedness.
    - ... which was topped off by gandhi's lecture aftwards (yay to 505!), in which he actually demonstrates on his solaris laptop dropping into arootshell after coding up a relatively simple script to overflow a random unix utility that the audience picked. Can we say "no system is safe"?
    - Copious amounts of mind-alterers
    - ... Which was spent on having a blast on the Las Vegas strip - More diverse crowd! It looks like female and minority hackers are finally starting to pop up.
    - Best content yet for defcon!

    Low Points:
    - Diversity in the wrong way. This year, Defcon should have been called "Invasion of the SuitKiddies". The suitkiddiez make script kiddiez look like Gods. I'm guessing now that the majority of the jockboyz were left over from BlackHat (which their companies sent them too). Worse thanthe Feds, they were like the annoying greasy teenagers you see, but fit into society enough that people have never told them to fuck off. As many on the list can attest to, not only were these people annoying in that they would insult you to your face, in that unknowing pink way that they dont even realize, but they also get really drunk and start accosting and really badly picking up on the women hackers that were with me in that way that frat boys do. On top of that, they weren't really friendly at all, and made the 'con really boring to goto, as the flooded all the cool people out of the hotel. On top of that, they have *bad* fashion sense- the goth/punk/raver/hippie/geek/freak/anything goes show of Defcon got replaced with lots of people in Polo Shirts and Corporate logos. Ugh. Did I mention that they knew far less and were stupider than script kiddiez?

    I suppose I should qualify this by saying that a lot of them were admin's from their workplace, and Defcon/Blackhat is probably the place to go if you are going to go learn about security, but can't they suck less?
    - The con was way overcrowded, almost impossible to get into what you wanted to go to see due to the suit kiddiez.
    - A lot of the Vendors seemed to have dropped out this year. Only a couple of booths, mostly from Loompanics, and a couple of major t-shirt vendors. Nothing particuarly interesting.
    - Vegas heat was way high this year...
    - My biggest beef: Spirit of togetherness seemed to be replaced with a spirit of antagonism- no one was talking to anyone outside of their cliques this year, with the exception of desperate jock lamers who were neither intelligent, fun, or amusing.

    All in all, this year's Con was waaaay mellower than the previous ones I have attended. But also way more informative.
    Anybody else have any similar experiences.

  • I wish DEFCON's date wasn't set as close as H2K's. I missed out on DEFCON because of the date, I would've loved to have had a trip to Las Vegas to get out of this rainy Pennsylvania season we seem to be stuck in now :)

    In his speech, he estimated that the DoD sees seven to eight attacks per day, many transnational, he claimed. He also put last year's bill of investigating these intrusion attempts (whether sucessful or not) at $25 billion -- roughly 10 percent of the fiscal year 1999 DoD budget, which was publicized as being $257.3 billion.

    I wonder how many of these 'attacks' are just script kiddies running scripts or if they're actaully full fledged 'intelligent' crackers (I use intelligent loosely)

    Well atleast after DEFCON maybe 2600 will fianlly get their website back online.. supposedly they were down because the server when kablooey and nobody had the key. Oh well, time for another cup of coffee.

  • Heh, I was reading wired and there is a really good article over there as well.

    http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,37896,00. html

    It goes into a little more detail and has a bit of a different perspective thant he ZDNet stuff

    OT: ZDNet and linuxcare share the same building :)

    If you think education is expensive, try ignornace
  • Absolutely...

    One could interpret the growing popularity of DefCon and other cons as not beneficial but a dilution of the serious hacking community. More people come to the cons now, and so they are catering to the lowest common denominator..

    JavaScript Error: http://www.windows2000test.com/default.htm, line 91:
  • All in all, the convention this year was great. It was held in Ft. Wayne, IN,

    The exclusive toys this year were a repaint of transmetal Optimus, named Apelinq. Colors were cool, but kinda pricey($50). The 2nd toy was a repaint of the giant crab Rampge. Named Shokaract this toy($56) is awesome. There was a limit of one of eack toy per attendee, but yours truly managed to get 2 sets!

    The biggest event was entitled:10 things you didnt know about the Transformers". The mentioned some awesome secrets about the Transformmers movie. Namely Red Alert was killed by a constructicon, and Ultra Magnus was quartered by the sweeps during the scene when galvatron wanted the matrix. These scenes were never showed in the movie but the proof was slides of the movie that the animators got queed from.

    The autograph line sucked. It was too long and they limited the numebr of items signed to 1 per actor. Present were Blackarachnia, Cheetor, and Tarantulas. I told Cheetor his character was a pussy mam, and then I kicked him in the stomach. Best thing was: Blackarachnia(Venus Terzo) was REALLY HOT! and yours trult got his picture taken with her.

    I would say the highlight of botcon 2000 was the fact that I now have A COMPLETE PREDAKING!!!!!(minus a right fist) I had 2 pieces when I was a child and always wanted the full version, and now I have it.

  • by FuryG3 ( 113706 ) on Monday July 31, 2000 @07:13AM (#892140)
    For those of you that weren't there, I put some pictures [dhs.org] up of our trip up. There's not a lot, I haven't updated it since sat night (I should be putting up some more pics after lunch). Also I should probably consider replacing the page with html that's written while sober. Hmmmm.....
  • OpenCola [opencola.org] said they would be at this Defcon...so...if anyone happens to stop by their booth, grab a cola for me...

    Does anyone know a place where I could buy one of those OpenColas? I just want to put one in my collection of nerd paraphenalia.

  • LOL!!!!! My friends said Defcon 5 and 6 blew nuts, considering they went to defcon 2-4. They never plan on going again, and here you are saying that 6 and 7 were good. The guys who will go to 8 and 9 for the first time will say that it is good, but you will hate it. Such is life, popularity and fame sucks.
  • I can't believe how much hype DEFCON has this year. It makes me want to puke: its turned into a media circus. Next thing there will be Hollywood types there because its the 'place to be seen.' I understand some publicity is a positive thing, but I think this conference is on its way to becoming a joke.
  • "Don't try to enforce technical definitions on people who have no need for them...

    This right here is the entire key. CNN is in desperate need to understand the difference between "hacker" and "cracker". So is Congress and the general public. The importance of network security is at an all-time high and is rising every day. Rights are being eroded away because there are people who don't understand that "messing with the insides" doesn't mean "trying to break it". Affording them a means to think about that difference (making them understand "hacker" vs "cracker") benefits us (immediately) AND them (eventually).
  • BULL. I went to comdex 5 years ago and it was a joke. I spent 20 minutes watching a presentation by Sony about how 95% of all dogs prefer to eat sony CD-ROM media, instead of the leading compition. (Actually it was 20 minutes of a dog running around with a magical disk that solved everybodys problems, helped kid with his homework, helped mom with the kitched, helped dad with the finances). It was a total waste of time. At least I got a pair of polarized 3D glasses out of it. There was zero information content.

    Comdex is there to make a good impression on the public NOT the techs. Nearly all of the booths were to look good, and hype products, not to teach or inform. Crud.. Intel was throwing around their marketing BS about how their new processor (Pentium Pro at the time) improved internet aceess. The 3D graphics they were doing we did on a 486 (actually ours looked better).

    Motorola had some content about the design of their processor. I did manage to get a evaluation kit of a dongle for copy protection, but all the good info came from the small booths tucked away in the show.

    I have to say it was fun to hang out with my coworkers, but the show was a waste of my time. And that was 5 years ago. I hate to wonder what its like today.

  • The best part of defcon is Hacker Jeopardy (and BadKitty).

    Whatever happened to the TCP/IP drinking game?

    Oh, and Uber Haxor wasn't really.
  • AC here raises an interesting point... But surely Katz's books would be posted SOMEWHERE?

    It just doesn't make sense to claim that songs/software/ad infinitum should be distributed for free and not do the same with books. Kind of a double-standard if you ask me.

    "'Why should software be free?' Edward J. Zander, chief operating officer of Sun Microsystems, asked New York Times reporter Amy Harmon in a story on OSS. 'Why should I give away what I pay millions of dollars to develop? Why doesn't General Motors give its cars away for free? Why don't you give me your newspaper for free?'

    Good questions, and exactly the ones the chief operating officer of a giant computer software company should be asking, and the country should be talking about. The values of the rapidly ascending Internet suggest that companies may need a more nuanced response when it comes to existing online - such as perhaps giving some things away free some of the time, or charging less for the things they do sell, or selling them in different ways: giving consumers more power in terms of customization -- choice, design, price and quantity. "

    -JonKatz [slashdot.org], "World without walls" [slashdot.org]

    So, based on this small quote from the article, I think it would make sense if Katz at least had the first chapter or two of his books up on the web. (Are they up anywhere?) If this sounds impossible due to licensing restrictions, just look at "The Hacker Crackdown" by Bruce Sterling. You can download the whole thing as a text file (or 4, in my case).

    One last thing: To the AC who posted this, next time, if you have an account, use it. Do not fear the "bitchslap." (Which, while rumored at, I've never seen it happen.)
  • More importantly, cracker can be, but is not always, a subset of hacker.

    A cracker can be a script kiddie who knows nothing, or he can be a creative person who uses his skills, knowledge and intuition to gain illicit security access, Rather than a crufty old UNIX hacker, who uses his skills knowledge and intuition to keep a mail server running.

    The only thing the press gets correct is the byline, and even then...

  • by Matt2000 ( 29624 ) on Monday July 31, 2000 @06:45AM (#892149) Homepage
    Didn't this thing just end yesterday?

    From the text of this post it looks like all this stuff is live.

    <Drunken Undershirt Speech>Maybe if Slashdot wasn't owned by the damn multinational media and was still a small site like it used to be back when it sucked, then now it wouldn't suck as much as my pet pig on this here tree bark.</DUS>


    Hotnutz.com [hotnutz.com] - Funny
  • I would love to go to some of these conventions and stuff, but seeing as I am only 16...the chance that I would be allowed to go to Vegas or anywhere out of PA just for a convention is somewhat impossible....I was wondering if anyone knows of any large computer shows/conventions that are held in Pennsylvania..I would really enjoy going to one and learning about all the new technologies and issues, and watching/listening over the net doesn't quite cut it....

  • by qnonsense ( 12235 ) on Monday July 31, 2000 @06:48AM (#892151)
    That's not the way the english language (any language actually) works. If the media (and the general public) called mechanics "blacksmiths" and no one but the mechanics themselves mechanics, sooner or later the word for people who worked on cars would become "blacksmiths".

    It's the same with hackers. The media calls them hackers, the general public calls them hackers; no one but the hackers themselves uses the term crackers. If this continues long enough (and I argue that it has) the word for people that do that sort of thing will become "hacker" whether or not they call themselves hackers. That's the way language evolves. Get over it.
  • by Kondoor ( 135852 ) on Monday July 31, 2000 @06:48AM (#892152)
    Is it just me or do Conferences go down hill really really fast as soon as the media starts hyping them and you get a severe influx of people that do not belong there. Look at Comdex for example, 3 years ago, it was a great place to go and actually learn about whats coming out. Last year and the year before, 99% of the people there were only there for free shirts and hats and other merchandise. I doubt I will ever go to Comdex again. I went to Defcon 6 and 7 and they were good, I just hope the media doesnt go nuts and ruin this conference like they have will all the other good ones.
  • ... the script kiddies have landed in las vegas! Hide your cardz and \/\/@r3z d00dz!
  • Gotta admit...I like the Fear and Hacking [zdtv.com]acticle...

    This is the way to go to defcon.
  • right i fully agree, i suggest the computer geek community give up on the term 'hackers' and start seeking a new term that pops when you think of enthusiastic and clever geeks. I nominate 'the mighty ducks'.
  • That will teach me to leave my computer logged into /. Someone has been tinkering while I was out. Sorry folks.

  • by discore ( 80674 ) on Monday July 31, 2000 @10:22AM (#892157) Homepage
    Defcon 8 was certainly a good conference this year. It was estimated at about 5500 people. Most of which stayed at the lovely Alexis Park Hotel.
    I'll try to be somewhat breif on my experiance there.
    Informative Lectures, speakers who knew what they were talking about
    Plenty of neat stuff to buy.
    Plenty of people that are well known in the "hacking" scene.
    Fed spotting!
    Free beer provided by the people at dis.org

    From Thursday evening to Sunday morning (when I left) there were constantly people around all 3 pools drinking, talking. People at the LAN (wireless too this year!) to mingle with. It never got boring.

    Speaker room isn't big enough! You had to get a seat and keep it for hours at a time if you even wanted to be able to sit down.
    Immature people doing random acts of lameness. For example: Cement down the toilet, Super smoke bombs in the pool, DoS over the LAN, and other lame things.
    Luckily our favorite Hawaiian shirted enforcer Priest was there to take care of some of the kids.

    Overall, I had a wonderful time. The Defcon site is usually very quick with bringing tons of information from the con within a couple weeks of it ending, so be sure to check back there.

    On a side note, anyone willing to contribute to the "Air condition all of Las Vegas" fund? That place is so damn hot. 114 degrees (F) one day.

    Good conf DT and the Goon crew, keep em coming!
  • Ah well...just shows you how out of touch I am

  • "It does not matter if your intent in messing with the insides of an insfrastructure you do not own is to break it or not."

    This is EXACTLY the problem I'm talking about. You've got "hacker" and "cracker" so mixed up in your mind, you thinking "hacking" requires a network connection. Get this through your head: Hacking per se has nothing to do with gaining access to a remote system. Hacking is about understanding how things work and making them do other things. Cracking is about entering places you are not allowed to be (and possibly doing damage while there). Note that the only connection between these two things is that they rhyme.

    Unfortunately, the general public is being led to believe the follow series of steps:

    1) People who break into computer systems are called "hackers".
    2) Therefore, hackers are bad.
    3) The people who figured out how their DVD players worked called themselves "hackers".
    4) Therefore, figuring out how your DVD player works is bad.
  • Thats the thing about the underground, as soon as normal people find out about it, it ceases to be part of the underground...corporations and government have tried to quantify and manipulate the underground, only to find that this is impossible because it changes so rapidly. Its just like hacking. its not something you do, its who you are, a way of life and a state of mind. we will always be one step ahead because of it. when the media and the mainstream public find out about something that is popular with the underground, its already old hat to us, and we've tired with it and are moving on to something else...
  • You force the term crackers on others too, how is that different?
  • I'm marketing a new product: saltines for black-hat hackers. I'm going to mostly market to white trash from the south.

    I'm going to call this product Cracker Cracker Crackers(tm). How's that for an objective difference?

    If you want the media to use a word other than "hacker" they need a better alternative than "cracker". As many others here have stated (in this thread and others) the word cracker is lame.

  • Redundant? Overrated? But I meant every word of that post! *sigh* I love Defcons is all I meant.

    I remember one year at the Defcon, Al Jolson ran amok downtown and had to be arrested by the National Guard. After that he couldn't get arrested in this town. Ahh, memories.

  • http://www.defcon.org/

    None of this filtered ZD Net Crap....

  • > Imagine if the media kept referring to auto mechanics as blacksmiths.

    Well, in that case people would start calling auto mechanics "blacksmiths". It might take a generation or two for auto mechanics and blacksmiths to learn to like it, and a century or two for prescriptive grammarians to learn to like it, but all in all the world would keep turning and autos would keep getting fixed.

    Language is malleable like that. "Marshall" used to mean "horse groom". "Geek" used to mean a person who swallowed goldfish and other live animals whole. "Gerbiling" used to mean hunting for gerbils. Think how much the meaning of "the geek and the marshall are off gerbiling right now" has changed!

    I think it's time we came to terms with it: outside the jargon of a narrow technical elite, "hacker" means a person that breaks in to computers, and "cracker" means a Good Ole Boy from the Old South.

  • They are going to get the terms "hacker" and "cracker" straight.

    Okay, I've sat through "Hacker" and "Cracker" semantical arguments for five years now, and I've just about had it. I'm sorry, but guess what, you don't always get to pick what label is put on you, or what that label is associated with. You want "Hacker" to retain its "classical" meaning, then put more high-profile examples of it out there in the media, but don't just sit back and bitch and moan every time something gets defined in a way you don't like.

  • Actually, it's not like referring to auto mechanics as blacksmiths. It's like referring to professional crackerjacks as locksmiths.

    Eventually every time the common populace hears the word "locksmith", they associate it with somebody who has performed illegal entry. This is what has happened to the words hacker and cracker.
  • I went last year, and when I got back my boss asked if I had fun "playing" in Vegas... I told him that I was at DefCon7, he asked if I learned anything, and of course I did. He said "bring in your airline, hotel, and conference receipts, give them to Accounting, and tell them that you were at a 'Computer Security' conference, we'll reimburse you..." Hell, I did not even ask for it... I guess I just have a cool boss...


"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain