The chaos that is DEF CON once again has come and gone like a raging bull in the streets of Spain.  While we all feel a little gored, we thought it would be good to give you some of the highlights.

The madness that was Black Hat had just ended; Chris and Michele had one of the best classes they have ever taught.

Wednesday:  SETUP DAY

Exhausted but mentally ready, they arrived at Bally’s expecting what they got last year – an empty room needing a full set up.  Instead, they were greeted with this….

What a wonderful surprise!  DEF CON had really stepped up and the room was fully configured with only slight modifications needed.  AWESOME.

The call went out to our volunteers and soon enough…
Chris, Hannah, Jim, SiDragon, Laurie, Lee and Michele were all joining forces to roll in schwag and other supplies.  Billy and his friend, Flippy, made light work for us in transporting everything to Bally’s.

Before long, our SE badges and banners were assembled by the Silvers family and Laurie.
Once the team got some food in them they were much happier and able to work a lot longer.

In the meantime, Lee started assembling MSI (Mission SE Impossible) for the Thursday festivities.

Some of the crew started assembling the bags for the SECTF4Kids and that made them a tad bit crazy, given it was quite late in the day now.

Colin and Lee started practicing and testing EVERYTHING for MSI:

Chris then had to step out, but mysteriously, Batman made an appearance.  We can’t figure it out, ‘cause he is always around when Chris isn’t.  Amanda thinks they may be the same person….

Of course, the day would not have been complete without some serious safety violations…..

So day one ended and we were all ready for the beginning of DEF CON 24.  MSI was tested and in place, schwag was set up, cameras were tested – everything was a go.

Time to sleep.

Thursday – Day One

Normally Thursday is a light day, but not this DEF CON.  The room was packed from the moment we opened the doors.

As Chris walked the audience through the event, he explained that we were taking sign-ups live.  The line for people signing up was only live for 1.5 hours and we got over 125 people to sign up!!

Even though we announced nothing will be happening until 1pm, no one would leave. They stayed in their seats to not miss one second.  And you can see our resident Sound Guru is a great conversationalist….

Over in the corner Chris was giving lessons on handcuff shimming that he learned directly from Deviant himself.


It was time! MSI was about to launch and the contestants are chosen and the contest is under way.  Here are some of the highlights:

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This is Micah, basically everyone’s life line.


And finally our winner was awarded, Layne.  He had the fastest time recorded and was smart enough to let his son do the crawling on the disgusting floor at Bally’s.  Good job Dad!

Thursday came to a close.  As fun as it was, we knew that rest was short lived and it would soon be time for the SECTF.  Much needed rest…was…so…far….away.

Friday – Day Two

Unlike any previous DEF CON, this year there were actually people waiting in line at 7:30AM – no kidding (we have proof).


And the line went past the elevators to the casino.  WOW.  Thank you again, DEF CON attendees.

This year we had our guest judge, Billy Boatright, a natural rock star who totally owned the stage:


On Friday we announced that security companies were the target this year. Then we saw all 7 contestants to start making their calls and staying present for their Q&A afterwards.  Although we have done this before, this was a very productive year.  We did not have ONE no show, every contestant was present early, came for their call and stayed after. This was amazing for us to see and is the first year we have had this happen.

Here are some of the contestants who allowed us to take their pictures on Friday.


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Friday had us calling (in alphabetical order, not call order) Akamai, EMC, Fortinet, Oracle, Secure Works, Symantec and Synnex.  We will be the first to admit, this was the hardest Friday in all 7 years of the SECTF.  These companies were dialed in and ready to defend.  Some contestants were shut down completely.

3:30PM came too quickly and it was time to set up for the DEF CON Human Track in the SEVillage.

To start us off was Tomohisa Ishikawa with his presentation, “Does cultural differences become a barrier for social engineering?”


This was a super talk that really drove home some excellent points for us all.

Next up was the Hornsby Loving, prank pulling Dave Kennedy with his very entertaining and enlightening speech, “The Wizard of Oz – Painting a reality through deception”


As usual Dave packed the house and was an amazing speaker.

Next up, Michele almost made Chris cry as she introduced him with the kindest words she has ever said to or about him…. (thankfully they are recorded for all time)


And then Chris presented, “7 Jedi Mind Tricks: Influence Your Target Without a Word.”


Chris even had audience participation showing aggressive handshakes: (to be avoided)

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Next up was a really fascinating topic given by Robert Anderson, “US Interrogation Techniques and Social Engineering”


Our concluding talk, which kept a full crowd in the room until 9:00pm was James Powell, “You are being manipulated.”


Friday came to a screeching halt with a little bit of grey matter leaking out of our ears.  The sweet soft touch of our pillows was all too short….. and so the sun rose early and Saturday began.

Saturday – Day Three

Amazingly, all parents and their little social engineers were in the room at 9:20AM sharp (or earlier, you sick sick parents).  Amanda launched the SECTF4Kids, giving our most difficult competition to date to the wee SE’s.  This is the last picture of them smiling….


Literally only moments after the kids were running rampant through DEF CON solving ciphers and picking locks, our SECTF was about to start.

Again here is are the contestants that allowed us to take pictures:

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And again in alphabetical order the companies called on Saturday were: Cisco, Comcast Xfinity, Deloitte, IBM, Palo Alto, RSA, Sophos.

Then we did something never have done before, announce the winners right then and there!!


Congrats again Chris and Rachel.

Quickly we converted the SECTF to the Human Track once again and started off with a fascinating speech Cyni Winegard & Bethany Ward “Human Hacking:  You ARE the weakest link.”


Then entered National Geographic to film our very own Jayson Street with his topic  “….and bad mistakes I’ve made a few….”


Followed up by Chris’ personal super fan Mattias Borg “SCAM CALL – Call Dropped”


Then we invited a PhD in to really wind up the SEVillage with his slide-free speech that kept EVERYONE riveted….   Steven Zani “How to Un-Work your job: Revolutions, Radicals and Engineering by Committee.”


The night ended with our first speaker from Singapore, Fadli Sidek and his topic that kept the room packed,  “Advanced social engineering techniques and the rise of cyber scams industrial complex”


We would love to say that right after we got some much needed rest, but the private SE party was right after and ran until the wee hours of the morning.

Early on Sunday we were back at it ready to run the SEPodcast, now an official DEF CON event.

Sunday – DAY FOUR (aka. the finale, the end, rest in sight)

By Sunday we are all pretty worn out, but somehow our leading ladies of SEVillage were still happy and super positive.


Our SEPodcast featured both Hardware Hacking Village reps and BioHacking Village Reps:


And yet another SEPodcast first, we had Michele getting turned into a cyborg live on the podcast for all to see.


Chris did not handle the 10” 11 gauge needle too well….


With a change of topic, Amanda Berlin came in with some news on her new book as well as being an official DEF CON photographer.  For more laughs, take a listen to the podcast here!


Right after the podcast ended, we packed up the village and got ready for the closing ceremonies, but not before we gave prizes to the SECTF4Kids 1st and 2nd place winners:

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Then a quick pic with our SECTF winners.  The 2nd place winner needed a little boost, which Kaz was more than happy to provide:


Finally, with the end in sight, Chris was able to show the world the brand new SECTF 1st prize trophy.


And you can tell they are pretty happy.


Yes, we know this is super long and we know there is more information here than anyone can possibly consume, but end of day – this was the best SEVillage to date.

We want to thank DEF CON for the amazing amount of space, support and love you show us.
Thank you to all of you who stood in line and made this an amazing year.
Thank you to the best crew on the planet – the SEVillage Crew….
Without Mike, Dan, Kaz, Amanda, Colin, Hannah, Laurie, Michele, Jim, Evan, Paul, Ashley, Anna, Lee, Amaya, Thomas, Bryan(even though he wasn’t there, he made MSI) and Billy (oh, and don’t forget Chris)… this village doesn’t run.

We can’t wait to see what next year holds.

Till then