As promised, this is my detailed trip to Shmoocon, the hacker conference in Washington DC.
The TL;DR, it was awesome. But really, read the post, or at least skim it. Oh and, leave a comment, or send me some doge coins.
** Picture Policy
Shmoocon, and many other hacker cons, have a picture policy that goes something like this. “No photos in the talk rooms. Before taking a photo elsewhere, obtain consent of all in the frame. Violators will be asked to leave with no refund.”
I tried to abide by this policy to the best of my ability knowing that I wanted to write about my attendance. If you see any pictures you would like to have removed, please just leave a comment, or if you have a link to some photos you took and want to share, or would like to have some photos added to this post, contact me.
What is Shmoocon?
From their website, “DIFFERENT – ShmooCon is an annual east coast hacker convention hell-bent on offering three days of an interesting atmosphere for demonstrating technology exploitation, inventive software and hardware solutions, and open discussions of critical infosec issues.”.
Travels & Hotel
Shmoocon this year was at the Hilton Hotel in DC. This hotel was swanky, probably one of the nicest hotels I’ve been to in a while. Woke up at 4 AM EST, rushed to CLT airport, got frisked and bag inspected. My traveling experience to DC really wasn’t that bad (besides a small disagreement with TSA on what they considered contraband). The lines at CLT (Charlotte Douglas) were not long, and the DCA (Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport) was really nice. Prices as always were astronomically high.
After landing at DCA, I meet up with a really nice guy who goes by the handle Oncee, we shared a ride from DCA to the hotel using SuperShuttle. Thanks Oncee! It’s around 5 miles from DCA to the Hilton, travel time was around 20 – 30 minutes with traffic. The car service was great. Way better than a cab. Anyone looking at getting a cab next year I would highly recommend looking into this service, or something similar. The hotel had two bars, two restaurants, a Coffee Bean, and a few shops.
Cold pretty much sums it up. Temp’s were around 35 – 40 °F. My columbia jacket kept me warm, but the beardhead kept me really toasty. Beardhead is the company that makes the beard I was wearing as a part of my Jack Daniel costume. http://www.beardhead.com/ . If your not familiar with Jack, he currently works for Tenable security. I was originally introduced to Jack on the Security Weekly ( http://pauldotcom.com/ ) podcast. Jack is a super nice guy and is extremely knowledgeable. What a great asset to Tenable.
Mostly everyone immediately recognized who I was imitating, and one guy asked if I was Jack Daniel (he said he had never met Jack and was confused). I told him no, and he gave me one of his drink tickets for being honest. No idea.
When you obtain a ticket to attend Shmoocon, you are sent a bar code used to scan in at registration. Barcode Smarcode is a contest to present a scanable bar code at registration in a creative way using that years theme. This year’s them was Hacker Movies. Prizes vary by year it appears, but this year three tickets for next years conference was given to the top three winners. Here are the entries that I was able to get pictures of, including my Panasonic answering machine from the movie Sneakers. I didn’t win this years contest, but I did get an honorable mention and a free tshirt.
Free stuff, who doesn’t like it. I collect hacking lanyards / badges, so I particularly enjoyed the badge from shmoocon. But we also received a ton of other cool stuff. Stickers, a harmonica, a ton of pamphlets and marketing stuff. Surprisingly the harmonicas didn’t get used that much. If you have any con lanyards / badges you are willing to part with please contact me.
Fire Alarm of 2014
From my understanding, on Saturday night during the conference party around 11PM someone locked themselves in the Coffee Bean store inside the hotel after they had closed. Probably to much alcohol. When they woke up and realized they couldn’t get out, they pulled the fire alarm which went off for around 5 minutes. It was humorous at the time. Honorable mention at the closing ceremonies. Other hotel visitors not there for Shmoocon were probably pretty ticked.
Lock Pick Village
Lock pick village is an event held at Shmoocon by TOOOL, the open organization of lockpickers. Here, you can learn and practice physical security, pick locks, impression keys, shim padlocks and handcuffs, and partake in a few contests. TOOOL had lots of stuff for sale, picks, progressive lock sets, tension bars, all kinds of stuff. I spent a good amount of my time here. Thanks TOOOL for the good time.
There were many other events/contests going on, the only other contest I played around with shortly was Shmooganography. This is a play on words from Steganography, which is the art of hiding messages “in plain sight,” such as using invisible ink that’s revealed under a blacklight or embedding an image within an image. The prize this year was a $250 amazon gift card. Here is an example of the 2012 slides: http://www.shmooganography.org/archive/2012/HowWeDidIt_2012.pdf
I got to meet a lot of cool people this year, some I got pictures with, some I didn’t. I would like to personally thank @Drbearsec for introducing me to so many new friends and for his kindness. He really helped me step into the scene and I appreciate that. Oh, and Chicken!!
Wondering why you should go to a hacker con?
I can sum this up for you in a few pics.
1) Recruiters. Looking for a job, this is the way to bump elbows, get an interview, talk to someone from HR.
2) Meet all kinds of like minded people who are doing really cool and interesting stuff
Looking for Shmoocon 2014 videos, right now the best way to find whats available is to hit up youtube
Prior Shmoocon talks are on their site.
I will update this page later with more details. For now, here are the rest of my pics.