10.07.2013 22:47

Last weekend Jure and I visited this year's iteration of the SIGINT conference in Köln, Germany. SIGINT is a conference organized by the Chaos Computer Club and like the Chaos Computer Congress has a bit of history. Previous years it felt more like a local event and I didn't consider visiting it. This year however I decided to give it a try since the announcement gave the impression that they were aiming for a more international audience, for instance with the preference for English talks in the Call for papers.

SIGINT 2013 logo

At the first impression, the event looked much like a summer version of the Congress. Instead of one big hall the conference was split between two buildings with three lecture rooms, two halls and an obligatory basement hack center with copious amounts of reasonably priced Club Mate. Beyond the Fairy dust you could see some usual suspects from past winter events in Hamburg and Berlin like the All Colors Are Beautiful blinking IKEA boxes installation, Rarity hacked Brother embroidery machine and Nick Farr in his trademark suit.

The talks were a mix of social and political topics, computer security and various other curiosities that I came to expect from hacker conferences like this. The society track was unsurprisingly dominated by the recent leaks about United States data collection. From these I can recommend watching the keynote by Meredith L. Patterson and the Politics of Surveillance by Rainey Reitman. On the computer security topic there were perhaps a few more talks by people that can read x86 assembly by heart than you could find at 29C3 (where I believe a lot of this crowd opted to go to BerlinSides instead). Embedded device security nightmares and Car immobilizer hacking rang close to home for me. Also worth watching once the video recordings are published is the Secure Exploit Payload Staging which gives a good impression of how little trace someone can leave after breaking into your server. From the retro-computing scene, I liked the The DRM of Pacman talk about vintage hardware copy protection schemes in game cabinets of old. And finally, I thoroughly enjoyed the Making music with a C compiler lecture, which made me think again about the complex synthesizer I implemented on VESNA. By the way, slides for my lightning talk on that topic are already on-line, although the original blog post is probably more informative.

In conclusion, it was a nice event with an appropriately lazy pace for an extended summer weekend. My only complaint would be that the crowd felt less open than what I'm used to at the Congresses. It was hard to strike an English conversation with someone and looking back I didn't really had any interesting chats at the event beyond me asking a few stupid questions regarding projects exhibited in the hallways. I couldn't help overhearing a few comments regarding how different the event was compared to previous years, so perhaps it's just a sign that most people there were still used to a more local audience. In any case that's a completely subjective feeling and it's perfectly possible that I wasn't in my most sociable mood either. I'm starting to fear that I might have slightly overbooked my travel plans for this summer.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Life


RAM battery combo :D

Posted by brodul

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