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DEFCON's Latest Challenge: Hacking Altruism

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the teach-a-man-to-phish dept.

Security 47

jfruh writes: A casual observer at the latest DEFCON conference in Las Vegas might not have noticed much change from last year — still tons of leather, piercing, and body art, still groups of men gathered in darkened ballrooms furiously typing commands. But this year there's a new focus: hacking not just for the lulz, but focusing specifically on highlighting computer security problems that have the potential to do real-world physical harm to human beings.

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Pacemakers (1, Troll)

WoodburyMan (1288090) | about 2 months ago | (#47664625)

Wouldn't want a Bluetooth vulnerability to crash the Ex-VP's heart.....

RIP Barnaby Jack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664697)

Publicize such vulnerabilities, find yourself dead.

Re:Pacemakers (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47664767)

Yeah, like I'm supposed to believe he had a heart.

That's just where they topped up the evil. ;-)

Re:Pacemakers (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47664787)

Why not? Just asking...

Re: Pacemakers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664859)

You might not want it, but the Dems would disagree.

Re:Pacemakers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47666877)

He got that replaced by a human heart after watching Homeland. No joke.

Brick Machine (1)

c0d3r (156687) | about 2 months ago | (#47664635)

I've always enjoyed having a computer that's off and not even connected to the network, and watching people trying to hack my computer, while I'm fake typing and clicking. They seem to wonder what I'm doing and walk around to try to get a glimpse of my screen....

Re:Brick Machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47668593)

That doesn't even make sense.

Hardly altruism (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 months ago | (#47664637)

If you're helping fix something that could cause real world harm, it's an investment in your own safety.

Re:Hardly altruism (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47664791)

Or a preparation for a lot of fun on someone else's expense.

No Kidding (1)

Reason58 (775044) | about 2 months ago | (#47664639)

As information technology rapidly invades every aspect of our lives it makes sense that the number of vulnerability disclosures that help people's day-to-day lives would increase.

always (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664669)

There has always been some segment that is trying to pitch illegal intrusion efforts (please don't perpetuate the negative connotation of "hacking" that the incompetent media outlets use) as something good. If you haven't seen it at DEFCON before than you must not have attended recently. Remember the information deserves to be free push in the late 90s or the attack kiddie porn a couple of years ago?

Hmmm ... what? (0)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47664675)

still tons of leather, piercing, and body art

Is this a security convention, or an S&M one?

I'm confused ... I've never been to one, is this one of those 'it can be two things' deals?

Is everybody walking around in their disco-bondage headgear and steampunk outfits talking about security?

I'm just imagining a keynote speaker in leather chaps, and suddenly I'm very afraid. No wonder the rest of the world still thinks we're all running around playing D&D and shouting "my wizard impales your elf".

Re:Hmmm ... what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664719)

"my wizard impales your elf".

I don't even know where to start with how wrong that statement is.

Re:Hmmm ... what? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47664743)

"my wizard impales your elf".

I don't even know where to start with how wrong that statement is.

Why, thank you.

Re:Hmmm ... what? (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47664807)

Damn straight, wizards have a THAC0 off the charts, even at high levels. And by that time your elf better has some elven mail on or, well, he's ...

erh...

  I mean, good one!

Re:Hmmm ... what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664935)

My turgid wizard staff impails your tumescent, moist elf loins. - is that better?

Re:Hmmm ... what? (1)

Jason Goatcher (3498937) | about 2 months ago | (#47667711)

Okay, remove security and put in Fantasy with the leather and I think this particular Anonymous Coward has a vacation to plan.

Re:Hmmm ... what? (1)

Jason Goatcher (3498937) | about 2 months ago | (#47667701)

Well, for one thing, I don't think wizards get much benefit from sharp objects. They're usually on the outskirts casting healing spells and whatnot, and probably are EXPECTED to run if someone burly comes nearby. You gotta be up close or use projectiles(like rangers) to benefit from sharpness, unless you're dropping stalactites on people.

Re:Hmmm ... what? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 months ago | (#47664747)

Not to worry, lots of other styles in attendance as well. Wikipedia only has one photo of attendees, and it happens to be this one [wikimedia.org] .

Re:Hmmm ... what? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47664761)

Nerds in t-shirts and glasses, now that's what I expected ... the whole leather thing threw me a little.

Re:Hmmm ... what? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47664815)

Well, we keep saying that, hoping to at least attract the weird chicks, but ... all it does is attract a bunch of weird dudes that wanna beat us up... it's just like high school all over. :(

Re:Hmmm ... what? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47665063)

Damn, suddenly I was a lot more interested in attending ... who doesn't like disco-bondage headgear, leather, and steampunk?

Yes honey, I have to go to Vegas for work. No, I really do need my steampunk goggles and leather chaps, it's for, um, safety. Yes, for safety. Have you seen my cape?

Re:Hmmm ... what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47665605)

I bet there's a lots of tentacle porn involved - I mean, look at those impressions on their faces.

Re:Hmmm ... what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664785)

I put on my robe and wizard hat.

Re:Hmmm ... what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664933)

Leather jackets maybe, but I don't remember seeing anyone in full leather garb. Black trench coats and a few other oddball articles of clothing are at def con each year, but I don't consider those the norm. Cargo shorts are ubiquitous.

Piercing, tattoos, and henna are part of the hacking culture these days though. It's not uncommon to see someone with multiple earrings, lip rings, or other piercings. It's also fairly common for people to have tattoos, usually with video game themes.

As far as wizards and elves, it's probably for the best the outside world thinks of us like that. It allows us to do what we want without scrutiny. Otherwise we'd have to be confrontational and tell them to piss off.

Re:Hmmm ... what? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47665181)

Cargo shorts are ubiquitous.

Piercing, tattoos and henna are part of the hacking culture these days though

looks down Hmmmm ... I'm not wearing any henna now, and my hair is my natural color, and I no longer have an eyebrow ring ... but really, this has been nerd chic since I was in junior high school, which is really only a subset of shabby punk from the 70s.

Or as I like to call it, clothing.

As far as wizards and elves

Mmmmm .... Skyrim ...

ZOMG, I 4m teh hax0r!! Or, as my wife puts it ... " hey dork".

Let's be honest here, this isn't exactly new.

Men? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664825)

"Groups of men" Check your fucking priveledge.

Poor activity description (4, Insightful)

SillyHamster (538384) | about 2 months ago | (#47664837)

"Hacking Altruism" makes it sound like you're trying to exploit people's sense of altruism for some other goal.

"Altruistic Hacking" captures the idea that you're hacking for the benefit of other people.

Re:Poor activity description (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47665027)

Although the dictionary definition of "altruism" makes sense here, most people think of this word associated with great self-sacrifice.

  1. The mother that rescues a child from the burning home despite being seriously burned.
  2. The father that gets frostbite while protecting a child from a sudden unexpected blizzard during their camping trip.
  3. The soldier that dies holding off an enemy advance while the rest of the troop escapes.

When people donate time/money it is usually called "charitable" or other similar terms.

Sound more like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47668151)

"disrupting hacking", or, "The hackers are hacking to hack Altriusm hack hack hack, you won't believe what happens next?".

Oh slashdot, my last refuse away from the idiotic click bait and endless dumb cat gifs. why, why do you do this?

(sigh) what happened to English? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47664879)

...When "lulz" is acceptable as a real, albeit informal, english word.

Re:(sigh) what happened to English? (1)

Cabriel (803429) | about 2 months ago | (#47665049)

Really? Lulz is where you draw the line? Not "google [merriam-webster.com] " (verb), or worse, "irregardless [merriam-webster.com] "?

What happened to English is that it's not Latin--never was. It's always followed less-than-static rules. It's a conglomeration of half-a-dozen different base languages. You should stop making idealistic assumptions about what it should be that most people don't share and accept what it is.

Re:(sigh) what happened to English? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47665941)

"Google" as a verb is just an example of verbing a noun, which in English is entirely normal, and not a remotely new thing. You can back a Kickstarter campaign. It can be raining outside. etc.

It is estimated that about 20% of all english verbs started off as nouns (source: The Language Instinct, by Stephen Pinker),

Irregardless, is fortunately still considered nonstandard. I will weep if or when it becomes actually accepted English, even if only informally.

Re:(sigh) what happened to English? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667439)

Irregardless, is fortunately still considered nonstandard. I will weep if or when it becomes actually accepted English, even if only informally.

You must be the life of the fucking party.

Re:(sigh) what happened to English? (1)

Jason Goatcher (3498937) | about 2 months ago | (#47667735)

It it annoying when I use "words" like gotta or wanna or *gasp choke* watchathink?

Re:(sigh) what happened to English? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47668253)

Not when it is in the context of dialog, or using some kind of chat system, or text messaging, since they are reflective of how one might speak.

Re: (sigh) what happened to English? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47675023)

Whatchathink?

Bollocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664915)

Just looks like a bunch asians playing WOW. Mayhaps its their characters or dare I say avatars that are pierced and wearing the leather.

Altruism has already been hacked (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 2 months ago | (#47665057)

by evolution. That's why you feel better about yourself when you do something "for" "someone else".

plus 4, Troll) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47665533)

As onen of the [goat.cx]

Ep?!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47665699)

DEFCON has sold out (2)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 2 months ago | (#47665817)

And no I don't mean out of badges or the venue is full.

If you want to do something Altruistic start by giving the grey hats and assorted 0-day hoarding outfits you work for the one finger salute.

Instead of continuing to make money working symptoms of security problems actually do something meaningful to address underlying cause especially if it means certain implosion of your industry.

From reception of Keith Alexander it became crystal clear my friends have grown up and too many have become hypnotized pay checks.

Re:DEFCON has sold out (1)

plover (150551) | about 2 months ago | (#47667473)

Of course DEFCON sold out. That's what they call "Blackhat". And I'm sorry that you can't understand the need of hackers to eat and pay rent. They obviously should just go work for the thieves, so that "the man" doesn't keep his money.

The security industry isn't self-perpetuating - the number of crappy, insecure sites and apps is astronomical and doesn't appear to be trending down anytime soon. Nobody is out there injecting deliberate flaws (except the NSA), there is an abundance of flaws, and a shortage of people fixing them.

Re:DEFCON has sold out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47668655)

Yeah, but... we could be fixing the underlying causes for the flaws rather than the flaws themselves. So long as the whole infosec industry is comprised of a cycle of just searching for bugs and then exploiting them for cash (either as a criminal or as savior), you're not breaking the cycle. Step up and get the world to take note of how those bugs come into being, and what could be done to stop it.

Re:DEFCON has sold out (1)

plover (150551) | about 2 months ago | (#47682877)

You don't think people are trying to find underlying causes? OWASP? CERT? Every university with an IT security program? Every OS maker? Every web server author? Every database author?

There are plenty of highly motivated, well funded, intelligent people working on these problems. The fact is that security is not a mathematical absolute, and no such underlying cause exists, despite your imaginings. There is no grand conspiracy creating security problems.

comparative risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47667535)

(potential damage caused by actions of politicians) >>>>>>> (potential damage caused by hackers)

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