Early last Friday morning I flew out of DFW on my way to D.C. for ShmooCon. I arrived in D.C. at noon after the pilot of my plane aborted the first landing and had to make a second approach. I forgot just how difficult the approach is flying into Reagan National Airport. If I recall correctly planes must maintain a minimum altitude and have to make an odd approach all due to airspace of all the various monuments and government buildings in the vicinity of the airport, which results in the plane having to drop quite a bit of altitude right at the last minute and make a fairly quick turn about the same time to approach correctly. Not an easy task for a large jet I’m guessing…
Anyhow, I arrived at noon, took the subway from the airport to the station a few blocks away from where I was staying (Hotel Washington), checked in to my room, then took the subway again over to the station near the conference hotel. After my visit to London a few weeks ago I’ve really begun to appreciate public transportation. A single day pass for the Washington Metro rail is $6.50, easily $3 less than a cab ride one-way from my hotel to the conference hotel. But of course you give up a bit of time for the cost savings by having to wait for trains to arrive and board, and the trains there stop running around midnight or 2AM, depending on what day of the week it is.
Once at the conference hotel I met up with a number of people that I generally only get to see at conferences, registered, and then realized that there were a unusual amount of people around wearing green shirts. That’s rather odd I thought, until I realized that they were all conference staff! The ShmooCon ’07 staff shirt this year was green! So of course I had to volunteer and get myself one of those shirts… I ended up proctoring a couple of talks on Saturday in order to acquire a staff shirt and staff badge.
As usual, ShmooCon lived up to my expectation. ShmooCon and ToorCon are by far my favorite conferences of the year due to their smaller size and much higher than usual signal-to-noise ratio. I also really enjoyed all of the talks that I was able to see:
- Hacking the Airwaves with FPGA’s, h1kari
- Auditing Cached Credentials with Cachedump, Eoin Milier and Adair Collins
- No Tech Hacking, Johnny Long
- Boomstick-Fu: The Fundamentals of Physical Security, Deviant Ollam, Noid, and Thorn
- Keynote Address, Avi Rubin
- Hacker Potpourri, Simple Nomad
- A Hacker Looks at 50, G. Mark Hardy
- Backbone Fuzzing, Raven
- Weaponizing Noam Chomsky, or Hacking with Pattern Languages, Dan Kaminsky
- Encrypted Protocol identification via Statistical Analysis, Rob King and Rohit Dhamankar
Other highlights of the conference:
- Again, green staff shirts!!!
- ShmooCon SWAG theme: the bag is a portable cooler, the badge is a bottle opener
- I met a really fun, really cute girl (:
- The Hacker Arcade was back in effect
Lowlights of the conference:
- The ShmooCon party was at a bar where the top floor hosted the DJs. The floor was so bouncy, every time a buildup would happen everyone would start jumping and the floor would shake and the turntable needles would skip. After a while I just couldn’t take it anymore and had to leave…
- I didn’t have time to 0wn any of the hacker arcade machines this year ):
- I didn’t stay at the conference hotel so I had a lot of subway time and cab fares.
- I missed the VoIP talk because it was first thing Sunday morning, which is the morning after all the parties… heh.