Dave Bullock / eecue

photographer, director of engineering: crowdrise, photojournalist, hacker, nerd, geek, human

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Hacking the Defcon Badge

Defcon Badge with Soldered on Connector

Yesterday at Defcon I went to the vendor area to pick up the Zigbee and accelerometer chips for my awesome Defcon badge. Unfortunately they were out of both chips, but they did let me borrow their soldering iron and gave me some leads to solder onto my badge. I soldered these leads on in a minute or two and then attached my badge to their laptop which had the freescale programming software on it. I modified the source code, which is actually in C, simply changing the hard coded message from "I <3 DEFCON" to "eecue.com." Changing this, meant that as soon as I powered up the badge it displayed that instead of the default message, and also changed the POV message. After modifying the code, I recompiled the firmware and flashed it to the badge.

Programming the Defcon Badge

The hack was simple and in total took me about 10 minutes. According to the guys at the booth and Joe Grand (the badge's designer) I was the first person at the con to hack a badge. Today I am planning on picking up my own Freescale programmer and the accelerometer chips which should be in stock, and hopefully I'll find some time to modify the badge in more interesting ways. This simple hack has been written up on Wired's 27bstroke6 blog (whom I have been employed by for the duration of the convention as their staff photog), Gizmodo and several other places.

Hacked Defcon Badge


EVDO and Defcon

King Tuna

As everyone in attendance should know, the Defcon network is probably the most dangerous and hostile network in the world. No network is secure, but the wireless network at Defcon is totally insecure with thousands of hackers and script kiddies sniffing traffic and actively attacking ever system they see. This is one reason why I've made it a habit to use an out of band connection for my internet needs. My out of band network of choice is EVDO, but even with that I still send all my traffic through an ssh tunnel to a trusted host.

Verizon's EVDO uses ppp to assign you system a public internet address, and I'm guessing that the IP range varies from city to city. It's no surprise that people know about this as evidenced by the logs below that show port scans bouncing off my firewall.

One of the talks coming up today is "Hacking EVDO," and I was a bit worried that someone had figured out how to sniff EVDO traffic. I happened to run in to King Tuna, who is giving the talk and asked him about what he had found. He told me that currently the protocol is still secure, but that he had found a vulnerability in one of the chipsets which he has written an exploit for. The point of his research was to inspire other people to work on the protocol and break it.

The logs from my firewall can be found after the jump.

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