DEF CON 26

I returned home yesterday from DEF CON in Las Vegas. I attended with my teammates from Defiant. As we are a remote team, this is our annual get together for some face-to-face meetings, hacking escapades, and some fun. I knew there would be a lot of people there. I was woefully unprepared for the sheer crush of humanity.

I brought my kids. After living in Mount Shasta, they haven’t traveled a ton lately. They had never seen Las Vegas. Mark took them around to sightsee while I did work things. We also got a badge for Max to attend DEF CON. Of course, Claire was jealous and wanted to see too. So we swapped badges for a bit so she could visit the R00tz Asylum village and play. Both of my kids had a BLAST. And I had fun, too. Claire wore her Pen Tester for Hire t-shirt to school today. I hope it is well revered.

Max and I attended a talk on hackable touchscreens that ended up on Wired before we even left the room. When the webcam intrusion lit up the screen during the talk, Max’s eyes lit up, too.

Meeting my teammates and bosses for the first time was great.

I felt a little torn having both family and work at the same event — I wanted to spend time with everyone — but it all worked out. I had some heart-to-heart talks with my friends and laughs with my family. And the crescendo of them all together on the last night was amazing. 

There may or may not be video of me dancing to Michael Jackson. (Spoiler: there is)

Ceasar’s Palace was lovely. Until the last night. Others have written about the hotel security checks more eloquently than I ever could. We had a visit, and I just let Mark handle it. If I was alone, I probably would have been much more upset about the visit. If I was alone with the kids, I would have been freaked out.

They had said that we had not had our room serviced, and that meant they had to inspect the room. Problem is, we DID have our room serviced. There was no valid reason for the visit from Ceasar’s Palace security, even though it got sorted out quickly. No one else on our team had a visit. All in all, it was weird. 

It’s over, though, and so I have turned my attention and focus to the good memories.

Not nearly as long as I thought it would be.
DEF CON Patrol included golden retrievers. (Not sure these folks were here for DEF CON.)
Send your USB drives to North Korea. 
Mr. Bean (at least the cardboard cutout of him) came along with us.

That all being said, I’m fairly certain it will be my first, and last, DEF CON.