Over at the excellent ethicalhacker.net site, the results of the Santa Claus is Hacking to Town Skillz Challenge have been posted:

These challenges are a lot of fun, and educational as well.  Ed Skoudis puts a lot of effort into writing and judging them.  There’s a whole archive of previous challenges available here, and I highly recommend at least reading through, if not working through, some of the previous challenges.  

This time around, I managed to get an honorable mention for my entry!  I’m very happy with this.  I was unable to test the Windows-centric parts of my solution before I had to submit it and move on to real work, so that part wasn’t %100, but I did have a really solid way of getting netcat onto the web server via the command-injection-vulnerable script, and some nice netcat pivoting.  

Oh, and apparently I’m a security stud! :

We had entries from notable security studs like Wesley McGrew, Raul Siles, Ryan Linn, Mark Baggett, Zoher Anis, Paul Tartar, and others.

I might put “notable security stud” on some business cards, or maybe a button, now.


The 25th Chaos Communication Congress (25C3) took place in Berlin at the very end of December, and definitely had more than its fair share of interesting-looking talks.  Luckily, for those of us who were not able to go to Germany for this conference, videos of the talks have been made available a lot sooner than most conferences manage.  The main page for conference recordings is available here:

At the current time, many talks are not available in the official releases.  There are unofficial recordings of the streams that have talks that are not yet in the official release directories:

The mirror at http://mirror.informatik.uni-mannheim.de/pub/ccc/streamdump/ seems to have the best speed for me at the moment, despite being on the other side of the pond.  Unfortunately, the stream recordings are also missing part of day 4 of the conference, which even more unfortunately means that they are missing Applebaum and Sotirov’s talk, MD5 Considered Harmful Today, which has drawn a lot of attention over the past week.  Hopefully the releases of official videos will continue, and include this and some of the other missing talks.

There’s plenty to keep you interested while you wait, though.  Here’s a couple of tips to help you understand the bare directory structures of the mirrors, if you don’t pick it up from context:

  • “Saal” is German for “hall”, or “large room”. 
  • “Tag” is German for “day”.

…and that’s about as far as my German skills go.  You’re on your own for the German-language talks :)


A while back, I posted about darkoz having to find a new home for the hacker media archive.  Well, it appears that he has found a replacement.  The previous mirror on Easynews now points to the new location:

…and what’s more: There are MP3′s available of the recent Black Hat USA 2008 and Defcon 16 conferences :-D .  I’m looking forward to stuffing my iPod full of these:

Many other excellent conferences have materials available in this archive, too.  I think it’s a great educational resource, and a great way to fill your head with new ideas in security between episodes of Pauldotcom Security Weekly, Network Security, and Securabit.

Many thanks to darkoz and the new hosts!


I ran across this after I finished reading back-to-back reviews by Phn1x and Ilfak Guilfanov of the sounds-like-it’s-excellent “The IDA Pro Book by Chris Eagle, from No Starch Press.  Excellent reviews, and the book looks really good.  Please don’t confuse it’s coolness with the lameness I’m about to copy-paste about. I’ll probably wind up buying a copy of Eagle’s book.

The Syngress IDA book, though?  Not so much.

I didn’t know Syngress had an IDA Pro book when I went to Amazon to look at No Starch’s.  There’s a reason for that:  It’s awful.  I can say this, with certainty, without ever having picked it up.  I don’t normally feel this strongly without at least reading the book, but the universally bad reviews of “Reverse Engineering Code with IDA Pro” are quite damning…

…and hilarious :) .  Which is why I’m pasting select comments from the various reviews here, as they tickle my funny-bone:

ZT says:

Do we really need half a page to print a table that does nothing but list every possible form a MOV instruction can take?


For heaven’s sake, the book was published FOUR MONTHS AGO, and already the repository for the book’s source and binaries has disappeared?!  Come on, this is unacceptable. Every time the book dedicates an entire chapter to disassembling a binary, you have to pretty much skip the entire chapter, because the binary isn’t available for you to disassemble. You can’t follow along.

magicmac2000 chimes in with:

And finally, there is information in the index of a chapter, but the pages are not there! It is not a problem of my book, it is a problem of the edition itself!

Hah what?  There’s entire chunks of the book missing:

(Chapter 4) claims to have this items:
Understanding Execution Flow, Tracing Functions, Recovering Hard Coded Password, Finding Vulnerable Functions, Backtracing Execution, Crafting a Buffer Overflow.
The problem is that the editors (Syngress) forgot to include the latest three. Yes, exactly as you hear it: the editors forgot to place those pages on the book.

Even one of the authors, Justin Ferguson, gave it a negative review:

This is my second attempt at reviewing the book I helped write, Amazon continues to censor me probably because my encouragement is not to buy this book (after dealing with syngress, I wouldn’t advise buying anything that comes from them). I don’t know how to say this other than I apologize to everyone who purchased this book, it really was supposed to be much more. However the corporate world being what it is, it was rushed from deadline to deadline without any regard for quality, the editors actually introduced errors, many of the diagrams are unreadable and theres parts of the book just flat out missing. DO NOT BUY.

Ouch!  You can check out the reviews for yourself here.  I think I’ll be getting Chris Eagle’s book instead.


Darkoz is a great guy for having maintained the archive of security/hacker conference audio and video at mirrors.easynews.com for several years.  It was a place you could find presentations from just about any conference that had been recorded.  It contained years of talks from Defcon, Blackhat, Shmoocon, HOPE, and more.  I have linked to it several times in the past on my blog, I recommend it to everyone I talk to that’s getting started out in the field, and I have personally used it as a sort of reference/tutorial library for learning various topics.  It was fast, too.  Basically I have nothing but good things to say about it.

The undoing of it, however, is that it is enormous.  For this reason, it has outgrown the hosting kindly provided by easynews, and is in search for a new home.  If you or anyone you know has a redonkulous amount of space available (around 1 terabyte for the entire thing), the bandwidth needed to serve it up, and a desire to help out the security community, please check out Darkoz’s post over on his blog.

If you don’t have the abiility to do that, but you have a blog that you can use to draw some attention Darkoz’s way, please link to him.  The more eyes that hit his request, the better chance he has of finding someone kind enough to host the archive.

This archive is a great resource for the community, and I hope that it’s able to find a new home soon.


Michael Boman has made the slides and papers available on his site:

I’m really thrilled to start reading through some of this :) .

    These may not necessarily be the final slides as-presented, as it comes from the CD that was handed out to conference attendees.


    They’ve finally been put online.  It’s late and it’s a weekend so I don’t really have a whole lot to say about it, but if you read this blog there’s a good chance you’re the same kind of geek that’s been waiting for them to post these videos.  

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