This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the inaugural event for the DEF CON Group Johannesburg DC2711. The event saw a line up of both international and local speakers. I personally got to share the stage with fellow Goon and friend Jayson Street.
The event saw an emotional opening as Dino Covotsos was bestowed with the official DEF CON flag by Jayson Street. I cannot imagine a more fitting start to what was an amazing day. I got to share the day with family from DEF CON and what better way to spend your weekend.
The day kicked off with humour filled talk by Jayson Street. Let me tell you the soapbox came out, but the crowd was enthralled and mesmerised by this iconic speaker. I found myself being swept away and my mind being changed on opinions which seem to have been indoctrinated into me.
The second talk of the day was by another friend Sibusiso Sishi on the topic of brute-forcing African Languages in password cracking. I must say that this talk had my full attention and I was at the edge of my seat. Key take-away is that these passwords are crackable and the libraries are available for languages like isiZulu due to Google having the ability to translate this. I cannot wait to hear more about this home-grown African research.
At ITWeb this year I met a young woman and I found her to be an intellectually stimulating and all-round nice person. Amy Mania was this young woman. I was so happy to see her presenting for the first time much like any family member would be. She even did a live demo by spoofing the voice of Jayson Street. I cannot wait to see more from her and even perhaps do a talk together. I loved sharing the stage with another strong technical female, we certainly do not have enough in the industry.
Then I presented as well, who would have thought? I have recently changed from simply breaking medical devices and focusing on what is wrong. The reason for this as a patient with a device I found myself focusing on the negative to have a negative impact on my trust in my physicians and device. I realised that this is not something I want others to experience. I started focusing on breaking, fixing and making them better. In this landscape, we do not know whether devices have failed or have been hacked. Yes, you heard right we simply do not know. I want to develop the procedure and plan that we can use now already to verify that devices have not been tampered with. Enter DFIR… Yes MED-DFIR…
Following me was the talk I was hungry for, the talk I stayed late for. Sorry to the other speakers but this talk blew my mind and made me think of new approached to Malware and Advanced Rootkits. The talk by Alexandre Borges stole my heart. Then I had a conversation with him and well let’s just say I could not stop talking to him. It is refreshing speaking to someone that understands that Volatility is much more than what it is used for. For the first time, someone other than me knew what the VolShell was capable of. I cannot wait to share more on my Malware research with him. A bonus also is he is a genuinely nice person.
The event also featured a local version of Hacker Jeopardy perhaps without some of the DEF CON Las Vegas bells and whistles. This was fun and we saw a very young boy also playing, which made me happy to see. The game was very competitive but made me miss Hacker Jeopardy’s Winn and GMark.
The day ended for me when Jayson Street scanned me for the Hacker Chess project. This was a huge honour for me and the privilege to be in these circles. I have decided to post some of my favourite pictures.
Events like these are important. I think what people often forget is that the spirit of being a Hacker is finding a family that you choose. We are a close-knit community that loves deeply and fighting the hard battles. We are those that are finding a way to make things work better or work in other ways. The community has taken a huge step forward in South Africa and for local DEF CON Groups. In this community, I found myself and the ability to make the world a better place.
The rule always stands for these events, do not be an asshole. If you treat others with respect you will be accepted and loved in this community. Well done to Dino, Manny and the team of volunteers. I look forward to the next event this one has made it into my book of best events.
If you want to get involved why not visit their website https://www.dc2711.co.za/.
P.S. We can always do better, to leave the world just a little better than we found it.