Defcon Buzzword Bingo

I’m finally filing this report from the Defcon show in Las Vegas last weekend. It took me several days just to recover and get back to earth. But all accounts it was a successful Defcon show with over 8000 in attendance. It was a little less raucous than previous shows though it still managed to generate sufficient controversy with accompanying news stories, including the MIT students who were barred by a Federal injunction from making their presentation on how to hack Boston’s mass transit payment system. Ironically, the information was disseminated world wide anyways after it was published as part of the lawsuit. It’s good to see that the Boston Transit Authority got its moneys worth from its esteem legal counsel. Besides the usual craziness, there were some new attractions and contests as Jeff Moss attempt to freshen up a show that’s definitely showing its age, albeit gracefully. The “Gringo Warrior” challenge was a more elaborate demonstration of previous lockpicking contests wherein the contestant had to escape from a mock “Mexican Jail” scenario, by picking handcuffs, a faux jail cell door and a locked filing cabinet where supposedly your passport and other credentials were stored. Another hilarious competition was the “Buzzword Survivor” which was an ingenious way for Moss to introduce real vendor presentations to the show for the first time (versus the usual ragtag band of anarchist t-shirt and used computer junk vendors). The contest awarded a $5000 prize (presumably “donated” by the presenting vendors) to those who could survive 30 hours of straight vendor sales presentations. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of death from Powerpoint overdose but the few survivors I saw at hour 20 looked close to death (or a death-like sleep anyways). Speaking of buzzwords, here are a few of my favorites I collected from various presentations and conversations: Gadgets: Not the usual techy stuff us geek covet but the user designed software modules for Google GMalware: Bad actor versions of the same Systemic: OK, not a new word but it makes techy presentations sound sophisticated and academic Crowdsourcing: This was originally coined by Wired magazine I believe, but it refers to the use of an anonymous Internet “crowd” to accomplish a job. It was the way the presentations were chosen for Blackhat and Defcon by posting paper proposals to their website and allowing voting and commentary. Social Graph: Your Internet based web of relationships and connections to other people Weaponized: a code packet that has been altered to contain malicious code. Us geeks love using military terms. That’s all for this year folks. I’ve had enough Vegas to last me till… well till next year anyways

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