Hope Number 9 (Day 3)

Hackers and Media Hype

Speaker: Space Rogue (spacerogue.net)

There are number of mythical hacks that never really happened. The myths are often started by reporters trying to hype up their publications. Here are some examples:

1. Kevin Mitnick and NORAD

Hype: Kevin Mitnick could whistle into a phone and launch missles.
Reality: Kevin Mitnick never broke into NORAD. This outragous claim was made by the prosecutor who was trying to keep Kevin from being released on bail. The prosecutor made this up – probably based on what he saw in the movie “War Games”.

2. Sattelites Help For Ransom – 1999

Hype: British satellites were reported taken over
Reality: Totally made up. No reliable references of this even happening exist, other than the original article.

3. Al Queda Uses Steganography – 2001

Hype:  reported in USA Today, Wired and even Crypto-Gram.
Reality: researchers scanned 2 million images and found nothing.

4. Brazil Blackout – 2009

Hype: 60 Minutes (Wired as well) alleged that cyber intruders cause this.
Reality: Problem caused by poor insulators on wires. No hackers involved.

A lot of media people report things wrongly or simply make things up. For example, it was reported the US Government hacked into Yemeni web sites, where as in reality US bought some ads to display on these sites.

In some cases reporters attempt t create hype on purpose. Checkout the Michelle Madigan affair at Defcon 2007.

The cost of cybercrime is way overblown. The number of 114 billions lost is totally made up.

Don’t be part of the hype, be part of reality!

Manufacturing Modern Computer Chips

Speaker: QueueTard

This was a very cool presentation about how microprocessors are made. The whole process is pretty amazing.

According to Paul Otelli intel is starting to make 7 nano-meter designs. Soon we will be talking about nano-electronics.

Hacking the Law

Speaker: Brendan O’Connor

This presentation was given by a hacker who is also a law student. The purpose of his talk was to encourage other hackers to become lawyers in order to influence how the laws that affect technology are interpreted and made.

For example, most members of Congress do not get technology, yet they attempt to make laws to control it. However, hackers today do not help. To make a difference you need to play the law game.

Judge Posner (look up), who said that software patents are crap is in a minority in the legal profession.

I found the talk quite inspiring, so much so that I would consider going to law school!


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