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HackerSummerCamp 2019

30 August 2019 No Comment

Hello H4x0rz.

So my company funded my #HackerSummerCamp2019 and I left Egypt for Vegas and its craziness!

Travel

I was lucky to get the exit seat with some good leg room..
It was my first time flying. It was scarey as hell. my heart stopped beating at takeoff.. But I got used to that feeling and the air bumps/turbulence.

It was so weird at first to see that much foreigners (In reality I was the foreigner) but I’ve never to a place where arabic speakers are a minority. and because I rarely speak English, that made my spoken English really bad, but I resisted the urge to avoid speaking to people and tried to make more sense and keep it short, consice, and slow. And people understood even if I had to repeat what I said.

But starbucks never got my name right..

Vegas

A lot of blog posts about the summercamp were advising to wear hats and drink water, and I know now why. It’s so hot and so dry. My best purchase was a bottle of water.
Also the hotel pricing for water is just fucking crazy, it charged us 18$ for one bottle of water…. Legalized theft.

But everything was bright, fun and big! And I have to say the cars are amazing, No old ass cars emitting tons of black exhaust, or ugly cheap cars like the 30 years old cars that are still running here. And Uber drivers were super interesting, not too nosey and not too cold. And informative since they know the city they told us about some nice restaurants and shisha (Hooka) places.

And buses have a weird suspension system, when it’s parking and someone getting in/off IT LOWERED ITSELF. I didn’t know such great invention existed.

There are casinos everywhere and all hotels got them, and it’s all “worldly” down there.

The culture shock was real, but I got used to it and loved it. No body stressing and everyone is having fun and on vacations, and luckily no cops harassing people or shooting them.
I’ve seen few homeless people (including veterans) and that was so bad. Why would (I assume) this wealthy city not do anything about that.

Blackhat

I registered for the “Advanced red teaming techniques” by FireEye, and picked up my badge before the first day of training.

The badge is a typical conference badge, not cool or flashy as defcon’s badge but it’s practical and it had our names visible which is a cool plus, But I don’t think it’s fair to compare anything to the kingpin creations.

The following 4 days of training (3-6) were amazing.
The FireEye/FLARE team KNOW THEIR SHIT. Seriously amazing folks. I can’t share what exactly I learned but it was as advertised and better.
My shellcoding and win32_api was a little outdated but they walked us through everything, starting with baby steps and then leaping like a leopard after they removed the training wheels.
I have to admit I was at first intimidated by their smartness, the gap between us was huge. But they gave us good labs and helped us with hints when were close or stuck and made sure no-one has complains or didn’t understand it.

The food wasn’t………. um I don’t wanna say anything bad about it but all it had is healthy food and I hate healthy food 😀

The blackhat shopping room thingy was great, bought lockpick set, a hoodie, water bottle, lots of stickers, and some other stuff.

The blackhat staff was great, welcoming, helpful, and outreaching. I truely love them all. The introvert me never said “Hi” but they snatched me out of that on many occasions and it was good.

Blackhat Business Hall was freakishly bigger than expected. I met some cool vendors like MalwareBytes/WhiteHatSec/Thinkst/BugCrowd/HackerOne because I wanted to, and others just for the free swag (Got an awesome snort piglet and some other cool stuff)

Thank you Ryan, Chris, Jacob, Nhan of FIREEYE, and everyone in blackhat.

Defcon

I didn’t bring a burner phone but I bought a burner “Access Denied” RFID blocking wallet ;P

It was CRRRAAAAAAAAAAAZYYYYYYYY.

FOMO messed me up, I wanted to see everything and do everything but unfortunately that was not possible. I could only be at one place at atime and when I got to a talk or a village I never wanted to leave.
Watching talks on youtube and seeing it in real life ARE SO DIFFERENT. and participating in village activities is also great.

I have no idea how people choose between tracks/villages/skytalks. I want to see pentesting/redteaming stuff (My Job/Passion) but I also want to learn about the other 1000 paths of infosec.
I might’ve had FOMO but I don’t regret anything I believe I made some good choices (Was there even a bad choice?).

The jokes about #LINECON are not funny, all lines were fast ones the venues opened. Yeah it looked long and scarey but the goons made sure it was smooth.

Was it worth it?

HELL YEAH

Takeaways for next year:

Be prepared to walk a lot. Train for cardio like the zombie apocalypse is coming. In 14 days I walked 91 kilometers (56.5 miles) and that was unprecedented for me.
Buy a refillable water bottle.
Be rich. 😛

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