DEF CON 23 Notes & References

DEFCON-23Here are my DEF CON notes from the sessions that I attended and the presentation material that was shared:

In addition my previous notes (all in PDF) are available for 22 (2014), 21 (2013), 20 (2012), 19 (2011), & 18 (2010).  I wish I started going to DEF CON sooner but it is what it is.

Feel free to do what you want with the report - "I attend sessions so you don't have to." ;-)

I plan on attending DEF CON 24.  Follow along real-time on Twitter @technewsradio.

UPDATE (8/3/2016): If you are a Chvrches fan and want to be interviewed in person at DEF CON 24 then message me on Twitter @chvrchespodcast.

Review - Asus C720-2802 Chromebook

I recently picked up via Craigslist a "new in the box" Asus C720-2802 Chromebook to use as my new primary system for  The main reason was that DEFCON22 is coming up soon in Las Vegas and I needed a "relatively" secure system to attend sessions and take notes for ~8 hours a day.  


My previous note taking system was relatively old ThinkPad that I had 3 sets of extra batteries for. So, I dropped about 6 pounds by moving to the C720.  And I don't have to configure a fresh system to take to DEFCON and then scrub after.

This version (2802) seems like the middle build release (~Feb2014) from the original that was in late 2013 and the most current $199 version that uses the Intel Celeron 2955U processor (2848).  There is also a newer more expensive C720 with an Intel Core i3 processor available.

The positivies:

  1. Keyboard is great.
  2. Integration with my Google account was flawless.
  3. Integration with all my core online services was flawless.
  4. Working offline seems to work as expected.

The negatives:

  1. Can't seem to check IMAP email with an extension or a native Chrome application.

The still to be determined:

  1. Will it get hacked at DEFCON?
  2. How to edit audio?
  3. Will it let me take notes all day at DEFCON?

POST DEFCON REPORT: There is now an IMAP client - CloudMagic.  I am pretty sure I didn't get hacked at DEFCON.  I was able to take notes all day long at DEFCON without any issues.  I have not found a good solution for editing audio.

DEFCON 21 (and 20 oops!)

Defcon-21-badge+stuffDEFCON 21 was in Las Vegas, NV from August 02-04, 2013 and we were there.  Our real-time posts, references, and links are available over on @Technewsradio on Twitter.  

We have a detailed report (PDF) from the sessions attended if you are interested.  Just drop us an email to get the full report or a request via message on Twitter.  A podcast summary is planned but not promised at this time.

Things that we are "worried about" from an Enterprise computing perspective:

  • Social Engineering against users is like a hot knife cutting butter. Only defense seems to be training and awareness. Traditional information assurance (IA) protections: virus scanning, IDS, firewall, etc are not effective.
  • You can't secure what you don't manage.
  • Basic system administration tools and infrastructure services in the Microsoft Windows world can be used for evil: PowerShell, .NET, DNS, browsers, PKI, and SCOM.
  • USB is not your friend.
  • Mobile computing and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) are really not your friend.
  • Cloud computing could be your friend but probably won't.
  • Developers writing code for an organization without a security focus is just asking for trouble.
  • If you think your stuff is secure just because you have it behind a lock and a key you are in denial.
  • In a year or less, penetration testing is going to include inexpensive mobile assault options via semi-autonomous very-small drones and robots.

P.S. x 1: We were also at DEFCON 20 and have that report available if you are interested. Just drop us an email or message on Twitter for a link.

P.S. x 2: There are also DEFCON 18 and DEFCON 19 reports.  They are surprisingly still relevant IMHO -- same bat channel.

Updates from Twitter - iPad, DEFCON 19, Podcasts, Mobile, Amazon, Etc

The following items were recently posted on @technewsradio:

  • USB hub allows simultaneous syncing of 49 iPads
  • DEFCON 19 Podcast Review #security #news #research #hacker #conference
  • gets about 1000 new programs every day & they are looking for curators of categories to make the content more organized
  • BigBlueButton is a open source collaboration and training system that integrates a bunch of open source projects  
  • PC World has more details on the recent news from Qualcomm about their planned updated Snapdragon mobile processor  
  • YouTube has a great overview presentation on how "Prezi for iPad" works  
  • Amazon EC2 is now supporting Virtual Machine (VM) Import to Amazon EC2 instances  
  • IObit has announced a freeware version of Game Booster v2 for Windows that is geared for improving game performance  
  • Via ... you can get e-signatures features via DocuSign services integrated with documents stored on  
  • Getting started with project management? - "scope, time & "cost" - a good reference at Wikipedia  
  • "Heroes of the Computer Revolution" original book looked at hackers & nerds from the late 1950s to the early 1980s   
  • - a graph visualization library using web workers and jQuery

DEFCON 19 Podcast Review


DEFCON 19 was in Las Vegas, NV from August 4-5, 2011.  This yearly computer network security and hacker conference is full of cutting-edge research, detailed demos, awesome presentations, and a lot of partying. The podcast coverage was pretty good also. Here are my recommendations:

If you are interested in hearing my thoughts about DEFCON 19 then check out the podcast (08-11-2011).  I am the boring "IT Guy" trying to avoid the topic of "hot" women visiting the booth.  If you'd like to see a copy of my notes (13+ pages) then drop me a personal email to: "s h o l d e n"

Here is a Picasa collage from the Network Security Podcast meet-up at DEFCON 19 that was "infected" by Paul & Larry @'s little red balls from one of thier sponsors:


Twitter Updates - Google, Amazon, Windows, Chrome, TweetDeck, iPad

The following is a summary of tweets posted to TechNewsRadio@Twitter over the last week:

  • This WEEK in GOOGLE42 Check out: Ribbit, Android Kindle app, Google Reader Play, Diaspora, Google Wave open to all
  • Per @LeviathanChrons the podcast novel "Leviathan Chronicles" has a big update on 5/26
  • Amazon has announced a Asia Pacific Region AWS datacenter in Singapore (EC2 S3 SimpleDB RDS SNS CloudWatch Cloudfront)
  • Roundtable is today - Sat. May 22nd at 1pm PT / 4pm ET - Stitcher Radio, Green Screen HowTo, 5 Top Windows Utilities
  • standardizing all my computers with Google Chrome as the default browser - it seems to be faster, more reliable, etc than Firefox
  • TweetDeck seems like a nice upgrade: more meaningful icons, location, scheduled updates, translations, etc
  • is looking for proposals their 10th year conference in Budapest, Hungary from 08/31- 09/03/2010
  • Checking out Apple's "iPad : The Missing Manual—New from O'Reilly" - new book $25 -
  • Mark/Space has announced Android Calendar Sync Version 1.4 Beta
  • The new Apple OS X Snow Leopard Security Guide is now available online via PDF
  • has released AnyDVD6.6.4.2 with support for Avatar, more encryption updates & other fixes
  • Willow Garage has a new open-source initiative for institutions and universities to build upon a robot platform
  • OpenBook Specification for ePub (xhtml, css, etc) - some tools: Calibre & Adobe InDesign
  • Just installed the new VMWARE 3.1 for Mac -- reports about Bootcamp VMs being faster seem true - more info:
  • PhatWare has announced WritePad for iPad - an advanced handwriting recognition software
  • Checking out Tweekdeck v0.34.2 (upgrade from v0.34.1) --- I wonder what is new?
  • Checking out PersonalBrain 5.5 (visual information management) for Mac, Windows, Linux [free 30 day demo]
  • is now the new "centralized" home for MacTech, Now Software, MacNews, MacsimumNews, MacMinute, etc
  • Manager Tools Effective Manager Conference at Denver Marriott City Center has been announced for June 7, 2010
  • SitePoint's newest book "Create Stunning HTML Email That Just Works!" looks like a good HTML intro:
  • How to Upgrade Your MacBook's Hard Drive -- Is a good reference!
  • Anyone interest in an Apple iPad meetup in San Diego, CA - Wednesday, June 9, 2010

TECH NEWS RADIO PODCAST #362 | 091215 | Parallel Development, RFID, Ubuntu & Conference Pointers

Listen! (Size 7.1 MBs, Running Time 9m47s)

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST and Amazon.

Today's podcast examines the following topics:

Links mentioned in this podcast includes:

We also play a promo for's Christmas Special that is expected to be release on Monday, December 21, 2009.

Feel free to follow along with Steve Holden at: Twitter, FriendFeed, and/or Delicious.  For tech news only updates follow TechNewsRadio on Twitter.

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST and Amazon.

TECH NEWS RADIO PODCAST #361 | 091201 | Server Laptop, GlassFish, Security Tools, & Conference Pointers

Listen! (Size 7.0 MBs, Running Time 10m04s)

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST and Amazon.

Today's podcast examines the following: a high-end server laptop called the "EUROCOM D900F Panther" from Eurocom; Sun's GlassFish Portfolio; and some recommended computer network security tools to check out.

The computer network security tools mentioned in this podcast included:
The podcast also contained pointers to the following conferences:
Additional links and references mentioned:

The craft beer recommendation for this show is Sierra Nevada's Torpedo Extra IPA.

Feel free to follow along with Steve Holden at: Twitter, FriendFeed, and/or Delicious.  For tech news only updates follow TechNewsRadio on Twitter.

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST and Amazon.

Twitter Updates - Windows, Mac, Events, Virtualization, Mobile, Podcasting, Security

Recent Twitter @ Technewsradio updates --


  • Microsoft released SyncToy 2.1 (synchronizes files & folders) on 11/10/2009 []
  • offer's digital dictation and speech recognition for vertical applications like medical, legal, government, education, etc.
  • Cyberduck 3.3 released (FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Cloud Files & Amazon S3 Browser for Mac)
  • Filemaker's Bento (Mac OS X) personal database tool is offering a holiday pack
  • Dell's new Inpiron Zino HD is pretty interesting if you are looking for a Win7 media player/server []
  • Mac users can use Windows Mobile 6.5 smart phones thanks to Sync Windows Mobile from Mark/Space []
  • Evernote for the Mac has the option to auto update with new beta editions []
  • Filemaker has announced that Bento for the Mac now had a "field encryption" option []
  • Sun has released VirtualBox 3.1 Beta 1 (not for production systems) []
  • Sun has released VirtualBox 3.0.12 (virtualization) for download (Win, Mac, Linux, etc)
  • Qualcomm has announced some new screen technologies that are geared for the eBook and mobile device market []
  • Mark/Space Newsletter #93 (Nov09) reports a public beta of Missing Sync for Android is available for the Mac - More @
  • REDFLY Mobile Companion is now compatible with select BlackBerry smartphones
  • It appears (as of Tue 11/10 @ 8:47 PM Pacific) that Dropbox is hacked - get warnings from Firefox & OpenDNS
  • Cisco's Global Security Information now available via Cisco iPhone App []
  • via email James L has a pointer to an interesting Windows laptop/usb flash drive security tool []
  • Sherpa's Expedite was recently recommend on FIT mailing list for doing email (PST/Lotus) e-discovery []

TECH NEWS RADIO PODCAST #360 | 091124 | Windows 7 Books, Network Programming, Screencast Tips, & Conference Pointers

Listen! (Size 7.4 MBs, Running Time 10m41s)

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST and Amazon.

Today's podcast examines: Windows 7 book recommendations, network programming toolkits from Catalyst, and screencast tips (PDF)  via Tech Smith

In addition the following conferences are highlighted:
Other links mentioned in this podcast includes:

Feel free to follow along with Steve Holden at: Twitter, FriendFeed, and/or Delicious.  For tech news only updates follow TechNewsRadio on Twitter.

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST and Amazon.