Did anyone get the number of that Mack Truck that hit us? – Someone said Black Hat & DEF CON  was on the front grill….

Social-Engineer has again taken Vegas by storm and we know some of our readers couldn’t make it out there to be with us, so we wanted to take some time to write up a nice post about our events to share with you and to share some pictures and stories too.

Black Hat 2013

Our Vegas trip started out with Black Hat.  What a course!  We had an exceptional group of 16 folks, literally from all over the world.  Some told us it was their first Black Hat ever and they came just to take our course.  Humbling, but also gives us a nice sense of pride to hear that.

Our BH class is a 4-days, and based on last year’s feedback we decided to focus our time on all the rapport, influence, psychology and nonverbal sections of the course.

We added some new features to the class that will surely turn some heads.  Besides more psychology, more human interactions and more in-depth analysis of human behavior, we added something to the last day that is now a highlight of the class.

As you know, we send our students out each night on elicitation exercises to solidify the lessons from the day.  Our classes have been 14, 18, 20, 28 folks, so it is impossible for all of us to engage together – hence the new feature.

Our team goes out and finds a public gathering area.  We then select a target and text each team a descriptor and location.  They have to engage while we grab some pics and listen in on their engagement.  We all head back to class to analyze their nonverbal displays and how they engaged.  Coming soon there will be some stories and pics from previous classes on this new feature on the Social-Engineer.Com site.

As Black Hat ended, what we saw was a class of people that didn’t want to leave the room.  They stayed to ask more questions, to interact with each other and exchange contact details.  Not only did we learn something from these students but we were inspired to keep working harder to make the class better.

Some of the comments we got back:

“This class is the most applicable course I have ever taken at Black Hat”

“This is not just a social engineering course, this is a course for every human on earth.  Thank you”

“This is hands down the best security class I have ever taken in my career”

“Thank you!  I learned about myself, I learned how to communicate and I learned how to be a better person – who would have thought I could come to Black Hat for this!”

To all our students – THANK YOU!  We are humbled and honored to have you in our lives and appreciate the experience in making us better people.

Our time at Caesar’s ended with an awesome SecureNinjaTV Interview with ever-lovely Alicia Webb

Our Move to the Rio – DEF CON, Here We Come!

Thursday marked our day where we started something similar to Navy Seal Hell Week.  We punished ourselves with sleep deprivation, eating 1 or 2 meals a day, working 20 hour days in a room that was about 450 degrees Kelvin and lack of proper hydration – and we loved every second of it.

Here are some of the highlights.

Our team is made up of a very “interesting” group of people.

humanhacker – large, oaf of a man who had an idea a few years ago that turned into the SEVillage

Michele – the Asian who hugged about 2/3rds of DEF CON and literally kicked the arse of a few attendees just for fun

Amanda – our resident list-maker, shirt loser and all around organizer of lives as well as the best darn admin assistant I have ever met

nick8ch – the right hand of the SECTF set up.  Always late, way too much joking but we can’t do it with out him

Urbal – our intern, judge and favorite Narcissus

Jim M. – Dear Lord, what can I say about Jim… I love this guy.  My favorite Scotch-drinking, list-making, organized, hacker-type dude that is way too important in the real world to do for us what he does for us

Mister_X – Seriously?  You don’t know Mister_X?  Get a life… when he isn’t hacking WiFi, he is our photographer

Anna_X – As you can see (by the X dummy), attached to Mister_X and one of the most good-natured fun people we have ever meant, call her Arnolda and she is happy.

Billy – Billy is one of the most inspirational and amazing people you can ever meet. If you don’t know Billy – find him at a BSides or DEF CON and ask for his story, you will be amazed – I mean it.

Steven – one of the few people on earth that answers a tweet that says “Do you know how to shoot a gun? We need you for the SECTF4KIDS”… and he emails with a “How can I help?” – our newest team member

Put all of these fine folks together and you have the SEORG SEVillage Team. (and all in the picture up top)

The Brand New SEVillage

Let’s run down a few of things that occurred…

First, one thing we found out is that if you don’t keep nick8ch occupied, this is what he does to Mister_X…


But we had no problem keeping them all busy; here are a few shots of the SEVillage set up:





Student and resident fan, Leonard, helped out too:



After set up it is time to start making calls….


We always have one of our trusted team to help with sound:


Was it a success? Here is what the room looked like after only a couple hours after launch:


Some of the contestants let us get some great shots of them in the booth too:




The end of Day 1 was a few presentations and an intro for the kids and parents taking part in the SECTF4Kids on Day 2 start.

We introduced a new feature this year – The Gauntlet (for SECTF4Kids): Team members who would gladly pelt small kids in the head with modified nerf guns while they tried to accomplish tasks.


Michele and Amanda ran the SECTF4Kids this year, look at the pleasure they got from tortu…err… educating small children 


After we dismissed the parents and kids we had our first speech in the SEVillage, Jordan Harbinger:


Followed by a packed room for our buddy Dave Kennedy:


Day Two – More Fun To Be Had

Day Two continued with amazing SECTF calls.  Really, this year the competition was fierce.  The women were just slapping the men around left and right, but the men came back to represent in this year’s fight.

Again we got some great shots of our contestants:

29-Contestants 30-ContestantLaurie

This contestant volunteered when we had one woman just not show up… she stepped up and in 25 mins she got in the booth and just rocked it!


During the Day 2 calls, we had children sneaking in to try and complete their trials by placing their final clue in a box and getting sniped by our nerf experts:

34-KidsSneakingIn What she’s not a kid…37-WaitShesNotaKid

The contestants again had some great time in the booth:

38-Contestant 39-ContestantCristina

40-ContestantMalcolm 42-ContestantShannon

What we loved about this year was how the room came alive to help contestants that were stuck… here is the ever helpful Sherrie…


More pictures from a packed Day 2 SEVillage…


That was just inside; outside, we had people waiting to come in:


Day 2 ended with an awesome speech by Kevin Mitnick:


And then a much needed good meal as we headed to day 3…46-DoubleCs

Our Final Stretch

Day 3, we were dragging ourselves to the SEVillage early in the morning, but with a vigor and excitement that stemmed from Apollo Robbins coming into DEF CON with us.

The excitement over Apollo coming in gave DEF CON the motivation to move us to the Track 4 room. Thanks again to the really, really cool guys that accommodated the swap:


Now was the time; Apollo, Michele and I were doing a joint presentation on “60 Minutes in the Mind of a Grifter” – which ended up being very impromptu, since 3 projectors died at once and Apollo just winged most of it due to that… WOW, the guy is amazing!!


51-ApolloAwesome 52-ApolloSwipedHisWallet

The speech ended and (it wasn’t just rumor) we had some time to show Will Smith around. He had come by to hear the Grifter presentation.  He visited the vendor area then we had a chance to talk for a bit.  After he left, Apollo came back to the SECTF room and we said our goodbyes, as we waited for Apollo to come back we were sitting and wondering… “Did today really happen?”


But it did, and Chris couldn’t let Apollo go with out a taste of his own medicine:


From right to left, back to front

Back Row:   Chris, Steve, Nick, Jim, Eric, billy

Front Row: Apollo, Michele, Amanda, Thomas, Anna

Really, the best team at DEF CON!

Lessons Learned

Some of the best minds, sharpest people and most fun can be had at DEF CON.  Sure Vegas sucks out your soul, chews it up and spits it back into the shell you once were… but the people are what it is all about.

DEF CON 21 had 28 kids in the SECTF4 Kids with the 1st Place winners Bella and Esau ripping through the tasks like they helped write them….

And our 2nd place team, Connor and Tibor, were not far behind.

Kids – next year it won’t be so easy, so come prepared.

But one thing we can say that made us super proud – NOT ONE CHILD GAVE UP!  They all finished till the end – even the last team that knew they couldn’t win, they stayed till the bitter-nerf-dart-in-the-head end.

In the SECTF, women placed in the first and second tiers; actually, women dominated till 5th place!  This was the year of the woman – what a great competition.  Keep checking in,the report will be done in a couple months or less and the results will blow you away

Next year will be bigger, better, more interactive and amazing fun.

In the meantime, we need to take some time to rest and come up with more evil for next year. Till then, stay safe!