Richi Jennings

DEF CON 20 roundup: Critical lessons for all

July 30, 2012 5:57 AM EDT

So that was DEF CON 20. The infamous security convention has wound up, leaving hackers of all hat colors bemused, befuddled, and bewildered. This year saw an official NSA appearance, which posed more questions than it answered. It also brought worrying threats to enterprise VPN and Wi-Fi networks. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers count their Lost Wages.
DEF CON 20 logo
By Richi Jennings: Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: The hills are alive...
  
  
Lucian Constantin reports:

"This is the world's best cybersecurity community," said [NSA director General Keith B.] Alexander, who also heads the U.S. Cyber Command. ... Hackers can and must be part...of a collaborative approach to secure cyberspace, he said.
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Gen. Alexander [said] that if the industry could share some...information from their intrusion detection systems in real time, the NSA could take it from there.
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He encouraged [white-hat] hackers to get involved. ... "We can sit on the sidelines and let others [act] who don't understand this space...or we can help by...informing them" of the best ways to go forward.       M0RE

 
But Kim Zetter relates accusations of dissemblement:

A former NSA official...William Binney...[accused] NSA Director...Alexander [of] playing a “word game” and that the NSA was...collecting e-mails, Twitter writings, internet searches and other data...and indexing [them].
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He said the NSA began building its data collection system...prior to 9/11, and then used the terrorist attacks...as the excuse to launch the data collection project. ... Binney was contradicting statements made...by Alexander, who told the crowd...that his agency “absolutely” does not maintain files on Americans.
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But ACLU staff attorney Alex Abdo...noted that a gaping loophole in the law...allows the agency to do dragnet surveillance...and hold onto that data.       M0RE.

 
Darlene Storm says she's in "hacker heaven":

This intense excitement may be what ‘regular’ folks feel when arriving at Disney World, except this is better. ... It’s only the first day and more than 15,000 hackers, security professionals and feds have flooded into the Rio at Las Vegas for...the 20th anniversary of Def Con.       M0RE

 
And Jon Fingas fingers the free swag:

...about 650 guests [have] access to a private, ad hoc GSM carrier from Ninja Networks. ... Ninja Tel is really an invitation to a party...where the lone cell site operates...it lets the privileged few call and text each other...after getting an equally rare, customized HTC One V for free.
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The Android 4.0 phone gets unique perks like triggering a nearby vending machine with Qualcomm's AllJoyn. ... Owners can even reflash the One V...afterwards. Just don't expect to see Ninja Tel popping up in your hometown anytime soon.       M0RE

 
Meanwhile, Moxie Marlinspike is up to his usual antics, as related by Juha Saarinen:

The CloudCracker service...[now] cracks an even greater range of encryption protocols and password hashing methods used in...wireless networks and VPNs. ... WPA, WPA2, NTLM,  SHA-512, MD5, and MS-CHAPv2 protocols using a [FPGA] designed by Pico Computing.
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CloudCracker promised to run "your network handshake against 300,000,000 words in twenty minutes for just $17". ... [He] guaranteed a 100 percent success rate [against] MS-CHAPv2...for PPTP VPN connections and...WPA2 enterprise Wi-Fi.       M0RE

      
And Finally...
The hills are alive! Oh, wait...