DefCon 10 / DefCon X / DefCon 0A through the eyes of Grifter.

08.01.2002 - Thursday

Always a good way to start off doing anything, almost two hours late I mean. While it may be hard for some to understand my frustration, they don't live in my world. I find tardiness to be one of the rudest and most immature things in the world, and when I am the one that's late...well, it pisses me off is what it does. Dee's at Midnight. That was the agreed upon time for the roadtrip to Defcon this year. Midnight, not 1:45am. You know to be perfectly honest I can't even remember what the reason was we were late. All I know is that when the Van of Justice™ rolled up to my place and the door slid open, I was fed about two dozen reasons as to why it had taken so long to arrive. It's kind of hard not to be upset when your almost two hours late for something you organized. But late is better than never showing at all in this circumstance, after all, this was for Defcon.

When we finally got to Dee's most people were already there and had already eaten what would be there last "breakfast" in Utah for the next five days. I ordered steak and eggs, and a glass of orange juice which I quickly consumed. I started distributing the Defcon Scavenger Hunt badges and we moved things to the parking lot since Dee's closes at 2:00am.

Kenny supplied me with enough hektik.org stickers to wrap the VoJ in, which there is more truth to then not. We secured the wireless antenna to the back window with hektik stickers and also secured the FM Transmitter with hektik stickers. Roadtrip Radio and Wireless LAN were underway. Kind of. The transmitter worked fine with Kampf laying down a nice mix for the duration of the trip. However, the wireless LAN didn't do so well. I think a grand total of five people got on the LAN and made it into the mobile irc server. Those being Myself, Kampf, Com4, Serial, and Geltab. I'll try to get the log. It's extremely lame.

We finally got moving about 3:00am with a nudge from a friendly SLCPD Officer. He thought we were some drunks kicking cars or something, but when we explained we were just a bunch of dorks headed to a "computer convention" in Las Vegas, he just looked at us oddly and told us to have a good night.

We stopped in Fillmore to get some gas and snacks and stretch our legs. Didn't take us long to lose one of our own. A got left behind. I'm not really sure how it happened but apparently when the roadtrip commenced he didn't hear the call. I think he may have been talking to the girl at the register and not heard the radio or something, either way, he was left. About twenty minutes later someone finally realized he was gone, and we were sure he was doomed to a life in Fillmore. I guess Pollux realized quicker than most and went back to retrieve him, he them promptly had a blowout and had to stop for new tires. They made it to the Alexis Park a few hours later than the rest of us.

We arrive at the AP at about 10:00am. Got my room which was nice since most people had to wait for theirs to get done being cleaned. Moved my crap in and looked around. The loft room was a good idea. There was just something about having a room with two floors that was really nice to me. And the hot tub on the stairs didn't hurt either. Although only my wife and her friend would ever use it.

At 10:45 we run over to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to hit up Mr. Lucky's. I ordered the Turkey Club. Which if you ever get the chance to partake of, I highly recommend. We were given some excellent coupons when we checked into the AP. Buy one meal, get one free. For the rest of the trip we would split the checks and all eat for half price.

We headed back to the Alexis Park and a few people crashed in my room while some of us just wandered around and took in the wonder that is pre-defcon. Everything is still clean and pristine. We sat around a table in the vestibule between the lobby and pool 1 and just talked for awhile, waiting for pre-registration to begin.

I decided to go check in at the NOC and make sure that Cat knew I was there and available if needed. She said that Noid had my badge and t-shirt so I needed to track him down to get my stuff. On my way past the registration area I noticed that a line was growing and the preparations were under way for pre-reg; so I told the guys at the table to hop in line and went to wake the other. I noticed the badges on my way back towards the NOC, plate metal, very nice.

I found Noid just as I was about to enter the NOC and headed to his room with a few other Goons to grab our shirts and badges. We talked for a bit and Noid showed us some of the arsenal he had brought along for the shoot. Insane guns that could drop a rhino on meth if need be. I headed into the Vendor area and helped Russ and Chris set some things up and staked my claim for my table, as well as the table for the Scavenger Hunt. Then I ran upstairs to find Agent X and grab my speaker badge. Things were falling into place. Defcon was beginning.

At 7:30 most of us headed over to Mr. lucky's again. But this time, we wanted steak. Steak and Shrimp to be exact. A little known fact about Mr. Lucky's is that they offer a special that isn't on the menu. Steak and Shrimp for $7.77. And with the afore mentioned coupons we got two for $7.77. That's right, we ate Steak and Shrimp all weekend long for about $3.89 a pop. Not too shabby.

My wife and her friend who would be selling t-shirts in the vendor area arrived shortly after dinner. I spent the rest of the evening just wandering around and soaking up the beginnings of defcon. I found A in the pool with a group of scenewhores that we brought in tow. No doubt the highlight of the trip for him. And mostly just enjoyed the atmosphere. It was nice. Seeing people that I haven't seen since the year before, and even meeting some for the first time. Putting faces to the names on message boards and irc channels, sharing ideas with friends, and having intelligent conversation without a keyboard. This is what Defcon is all about.

 

08.02.2002 - Friday

Go to sleep very late, wake up very early. That is how defcon is for me, and I wouldn't have it any other way, I don't want to miss anything. I can sleep the other 362 days of the year.

I got up at around 8:00am and hopped in the shower. Got out of the room and down to the vendor area at about 8:45 to start and get things ready. Pulled the Jeep around to the loading area and unloaded all of the t-shirts. Didn't take long getting them unloaded, so I had time to notice that something was missing...The Scavenger Hunt Staff. Ran over to wake some people up and Kampf opened the door. A was supposed to take the first shift so I made sure he was awake and ran upstairs to make sure my t-shirt girls were awake. They were almost ready, so I headed back to the vendor area to make sure all was well. Kampf and dedhed were the first to arrive. They setup all the equipment for keeping score and evidence collection while I tried to persuade vendors to donate to the scavenger hunt.

I have to say that I was very impressed with the show of support from all of the vendors. I don't think there was a single vendor that didn't donate something. Some even went above and beyond the call, donating more than we ever expected to get. By the time I was done, I had made several trips back to the table with armloads of schwag and hardware. The winner of the hunt would be greatly rewarded.

Just before 10:00 the girls showed up ready to start hawking t-shirts to the masses. The doors opened and people started to pour in. They were eager to snatch up all of the hot defcon schwag before it was gone. I can't blame them, there was some good stuff this year.

The scavenger hunt was off and running right from the opening of the doors. We had several teams join immediately, two of which would prove to be very competitive. Exxodus and Agape. By the end of the day there was plenty of video and picture evidence of the days events. People wrapped in Saran Wrap, dressed in drag, defcon tattoos, and a few fully clothed trips into the pool. Not bad at all. To be perfectly honest, I don't know who had more fun, the teams, or the staff.

I made my way to a few talks. Ofir Arkin - XProbe. Humperdink - Windows Server Security. Thomas Munn - Hiding Data. Not as many as I had planned on going to. But some of the places were just too hot to sit through, and things come up.

Headed to the NOC at around 5:30pm to prepare for my shift. The place slowly became a sea of red shirts as the day shift rolled in to meet and brief the night shift. Noid briefed us for a bit on how things were going and any incidents that had occurred or we were to watch for, and then turned things over to Shatter. Shatter basically made sure we were teamed with the right people, told us our locations for the evening. And we were off.

I teamed with Zane and we watched the area between Pool 2 and Pool 3. It was dead. This is the quietest I have ever seen defcon. This isn't a bad thing though. It helped us all relax and we realized we didn't really need that many people in each area so we could have a little fun.

I somehow ended up helping out with the setup of Hacker Jeopardy with the help of Com4. We made sure everything we needed was in place and brought in some giveaways from the NOC. The new Vinyl Vanna wasn't what I would consider a total knockout, but she was definitely better than Vanna from DC9. Her outfits were sweet though and people had nothing but good things to say about her. The line outside was getting huge so it worked out well that Com4 helped out. About fifteen minutes of "work" and he secured a large section of row two, front and center. Best seats in the house even before the doors opened. Got some of the others on the radio and enjoyed HJ.

Being a Goon definitely has it's perks. I was security for HJ that night, so I was standing next to the stage during the festivities. Got some nice pictures from that vantage point. It was nice to watch the faces in the crowd too, as people got on stood on their seats to try and get a better picture of Vanna. Good times had by all.

 

08.03.02 - Saturday

Another early morning and another morning of waking the Scavenger Hunt Staff fifteen minutes before the vendor area opened. I went to the NOC and had some of the provided pastries and beverages. Kudos to DT for taking care of us. I probably would have forgotten to eat if not for the breakfast cart.

Security fanned out and made sure at least one person was in every area possible, if not two. It would come to be another quiet morning. I was happy to see that it was since I was able to "secure" the area of a talk I wanted to see. Chris Hurley - Hardening Solaris: I had to go and support Chris, even if it was from the back of the tent.

I ended up in the vendor area for a little while making sure the vendors were taken care of and that all was well. The scavenger hunt was going great. Candles shaped like penises, people wrapped in cat5, and a few laps in underwear. Agape and Exxodus were battling it out for the lead. Most of the time Agape stayed slightly ahead.

At about 1:00pm I headed into the NOC to talk with Skroo about our upcoming speech. "Resurrecting the Scene through Local 'Hacker' Meetings". We hadn't really planned anything more than a basic topic of discussion, and hoped to keep things generally informal, but we at least needed to discuss it a bit, and since we were to speak in an hour, it seemed like now was a good time. After about forty minutes of babbling we agreed that we were both on the same page and that things should go fairly well. Now we just had to pull it off.

At 2:00pm we walked onto the stage and introduced ourselves to the crowd. I quickly put to rest any doubt that this was going to be your average talk by letting those present know that if they didn't contribute, we'd be out of there in about ten minutes. Then we started talking...and we didn't stop. We had excellent participation and good questions from the crowd. A talk that we thought would be over ridiculously fast turned into a full hour somewhere between my brain and the microphone. In my opinion it was really well done. We had a few good laughs and got our point across to a group of people that I can't help but think walked away more educated than they were when they sat down. I could have gone on for another hour if we had the time to, there just seemed like so much to say. After we wrapped it up a lot of people came up to the stage and told us that it was the best talk they had seen so far and gave us all kinds of kudos, thanks, and words of support. It was nice.

I hung out in the Breakout Area for a little while after my talk. The WarDriving contest was ending there, so I chilled with BlackWave, Chris, and Nulltone for awhile. They did a great job with the contest and got an unbelievable amount of data.

I met a few Tech TV personalities. Alex Wellen, Jennifer London, Patrick Norton, and my personal favorite, Cat Schwartz. This woman is more beautiful in person then you can possibly imagine. She's unbelievably nice too. Oh yeah, and let's not forget the fact that she's into Tech stuff. Perfection.

My T-shirts sold out which is always a good thing. Of course then I wished I had brought more, but oh well, I'll do another run and sell them online or at DCXI or something. The day was fading into evening and it was time to get ready for the Black and White Ball. I brought a tux with me so I was doing the B&W Ball in the literal sense. Head to toe in Black and White. My wife wore a long black dress and to no surprise looked gorgeous. I think we looked good. While she finished getting ready I headed back to the scavenger hunt table to see if the guys were going to head to the Rio with us for dinner. I got a few whistles and humped Copec's leg, then we all gathered near the room and headed out. I was surprised with the number of people that got dressed up, it was nice to see people getting involved with the ball. I am sure those that didn't dress up will be dressed next year.

We got to the Rio and stood in an extremely long line that moved rather quickly. Patrick Norton decided to join us for dinner which was kool. We talked about how he got to be on the Screen Savers and what it was like working at Tech TV. He's just a normal guy and likes punk music, so Influx enjoyed his company. I usually love the Rio buffet, but I think it was getting close to closing time because the food wasn't too hot, and there was much complaining about it from most. I just ate a few pounds of Prime Rib and Sushi, so I was happy with it. Next year we are going to the MGM Grand buffet. It's supposed to be good.

When we got back to the Alexis Park, we headed straight for the DJ Room to see how people were dressed, and socialize. There were some really good outfits this year, and some just as nice hair styles. The music and lights kicked ass and the dancing robot owned the floor. We spent a few hours in there before calling it a night. The general consensus is that the ball is worth attending.

 

08.04.02 - Sunday

Sunday, Last official day of the con. I hate this day. I hate watching people leave. Slowly the crowd starts to dwindle as the day wears on. I think we should buy a small island in the Caribbean and put all the hackers in the world on that island. We could start our own form of government and live off of the advancements in technology that come from said island. Defcon 365 days a year. Just a thought.

Anyway, Sunday was an important day. The scavenger hunt was going to end two hours after the doors to the vendor area opened. dedhed setup the stats machine and got ready for the fierce competition that would no doubt decide the hunt. Fierce is putting it lightly. I can't even begin to describe the insanity that Exxodus and Agape displayed as they scurried for last minute points and the lead. Boots full of pudding, donations to the EFF, shrimp tails, and streaking through peoples talks. It was great to have these teams so dedicated to the hunt, it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun without them.

All was going great until I was called to the NOC to speak to Cat. We had a complaint from a woman who had her picture taken by the Agape team for the "camel toe" item. She was threatening all kinds of legal action if the team wasn't disqualified. I couldn't in my right mind disqualify these guys. They had put too much effort into this hunt to have it ruined by an angry attendee. After a lot of begging I finally got an agreement that the team would be docked 3x the points for the item in question. This still left Agape about 200 points ahead of Exxodus, but a little upset. Speaking of upsets, we were about to have one.

Exxodus had been playing strategy the entire time and had waited until ten minutes before the hunt ended to jump in the pool fully clothed. When I put this item on the list it was the one item without a point cap. This was done on purpose, we wanted to see who would notice, and Exxodus noticed. Siviak, the leader of Team Exxodus put on 31 items of clothing before hitting the water, earning Team Exxodus 310 points, winning them the hunt and the much sought after black badges.

Went into the NOC and hung out for awhile with a few other Goons seeking refuge from the chaos of the con. I caught two more talks before Defcon ended. hellnbak - Selling Out the Right Way, and GOBBLES Security - Wolves Among Us. Gobbles was essentially him getting up on stage and ripping on everyone he had a problem with. It was kind of funny at times, but I was pretty sure a fight would break out any minute. Gobbles was the last talk of the con so he just kept talking after the hour was up. I would've liked to have stayed but I had to get to the awards presentation to give the Scavenger Hunt winners their badges.

Got up on stage with DT and gave a synopsis of the hunt. What prizes were won and what items were found. Called Team Exxodus up and had them introduce themselves. They got their badges with big smiles on their faces and walked away happy.

After the awards presentation wrapped up I headed over to Kampf, dedhed, and Com4's room to see what was up. People had started to gather in anticipation of dinner. But before we went to Mr. Lucky's one last time we went through all of the pictures we had taken up until that point. It was a good time and we got some really good shots.

We headed to the Hard Rock and met up with Serial, A, and a few others. We all ordered the steak and shrimp and had a good time talking about our overall con experience. Rudeboy continually beat me with a hektik sticker clad fist and I plastered my face with a few stickers for good measure.

After eating we headed out to the strip to sticker up the town and get people to pose for us. Dragons, escalators, statues, bus stops, and elevators. Nothing was safe. We stopped by The Goon After Party at the Monte Carlo for a bit just to say hi since we needed to get back to the hotel to our own party. "Hi, Best Defcon Ever, Had Fun, See ya Next Year, Bye".

We headed back to hotel to the Hektik crew bash. It was kind of a last minute thing. We had talked about doing a party for awhile and decided that Sunday night would be good this year. Reward those that stayed with free beer and booze. Everyone was welcome as long as they left their elitist attitude at the door. The party was so much a success that we were asked to move it to the pool. Pool 2 partied until the sun started coming up. Maybe next year we'll have the party on Saturday, same rule applies.

 

08.05.02 - Monday

Heading home. I got a few hours sleep before getting up so we could check out of the hotel room. We got everything into the car and got ready to go. Had a last minute breakfast of everything we had acquired throughout the weekend. Cereal, Fruit, Juice, Milk, Water. Got everything loaded into the Jeep and were ready to split. I can tell you that a Grand Cherokee has a lot more room when there isn't eleven boxes of t-shirts in it. I had ridden down in the Van of Justice™, but I was riding back with the Mrs.

We stopped for some food in St. George. I got Quiznos, the others ate Panda Express or something. We pretty much caravanned all the way back until about Provo. I had to hit the gas and speed home because my tux had to be back before 9:00pm. I dropped the tux off at 8:57 and then headed home. Defcon was over.

- Grifter