DEFCON 18 Presentations audio files available for free download.

So DEFCON 18 has been and went.  Who went?  No, neither did I.  I live thousands of miles from Las Vegas, on the wrong side of an ocean, and I’m not too sure I’d be allowed into the USA anyway.  So I just love those wonderful audio and video files of the DEFCON talks and presentations that eventually appear on the DEFCON site.

Yes, eventually is the operative word.  The videos and audio files aren’t posted immediately for free download.  The DEFCON people want to squeeze a bit more blood out of the stone first, so they sell the material on DVDs for a while, before letting us uncouth freeloaders fill our boots.
So, if you want to buy a DEFCON 18 DVD, go to defcon.org – I’m sure you’ll find someone there only too pleased to take your coin.  But if you’re like me – you want it, you want it free, and you want it now – go check this site.  You’ll find mp3 files of most of the talks there for free downloaded.  As of this date (14 September 2010) there are no links to get the videos.  And some of the “mp3 links” aren’t actually links to mp3 files at all – some point to .BIN files, and even though I run a Linux box I don’t like to click on links to binaries.  Call me careful, or paranoid – I don’t care.  If you want to see what’s in the .BIN files, download a few and let us know what happens in Comments.
Even though I’ve only been able to find audio files of the presentations so far, it’s possible that the DEFCON people can unwittingly help us out.  If you go to defcon.org and browse to the DEFCON 18 archive page, you’ll find that white papers and slides for some of the talks are already available.  Match the right slides with the right mp3 file, and it’ll be like you were actually in Vegas.  In fact, I think I’m gonna go down to the casino floor and play some dice before the next presentation starts.  I gotta catch Dan Kaminsky’s talk, that guy rocks!!

HAR2009 presentation videos available online

HAR2009-logo
If, like me, you were caught out by the sudden rush on tickets for HAR2009 and so couldn’t attend the Dutch hackerfest this summer, you may be sighing and distraught that you couldn’t participate in this coming together of Europe’s finest hackerish minds.
Well, nothing can change that. But you can still enjoy many of the talks and presentations through the medium of video. There’s a whole bunch of videos of talks and the like available for download here. Check ’em out, peeps! You might be in danger of actually learning something!!!
There’s also a movie of the event: HAR2009 Impressions by Rick Deckardt. You can download it here. I haven’t watched it yet – I only found out about it a few minutes ago, while checking out the HAR2009 wiki prior to writing this post – but believe me, I shall watch it very soon. These Dutch hacker camps happen just once every 4 years, like leap years or Olympics, so I want to wring every last drop of enjoyment out of this last one. I couldn’t go – boo hoo! – but at least I can pretend!! 😉

Dept. Homeland Security blocking "illegal" websites?

Have you seen this craziness? For those who’ve never heard of DigZine: it’s a “hacker” zine similar to Phrack. This is what puzzles me. Phrack.org hasn’t been closed down. So why DigZine?
This ought to be a freedom of speech/free press issue. 2600 Hacker Quarterly has survived as long as it has largely because it’s a printed magazine – the printed press is afforded protection by the Constitution. But the US authorities are comfortable about persecuting webzines. It’s clear to me that this is wrong. There’s no real difference between a regular, printed-on-paper magazine and a webzine. So they should both be protected from over-zealous cops. Unfortunately, that isn’t how the world works. And if a website is on servers located in the USA, that website has virtually no protection from the evil morons in power.
Incidentally, if you scroll down to the bottom of that web page, you’ll see your ip address and some rubbish about how the Dept Homeland Security will log your ip and investigate you. Then, at the end it says:

Be aware that disguising or concealing IP information shall be considered a criminal violation of section 814 of the USA PATRIOT Act. Should you suspect that your IP address and host have been improperly recorded, contact a DHS representative immediately.

This is a blatant violation of the right to privacy. Using an anonymous proxy or some other anonymiser to protect your privacy is illegal? The US government has got right into the role of Big Brother. You don’t need a tin foil hat to realiize this.
But what tips this over into absurdity is the fact that any idiot with a web browser can view Digizine.com and its archive of seditious literature. All you need to do is go to the Wayback Machine. This is an archive of the internet: snapshots of what the internet used to look like. You go to the Wayback page and type in the URL of the site you’re interested in – say, Digizine.com – then click the button marked “Take Me Back!” This brings you to a list of dates when snapshots of the site in question were taken. In the case of Digizine.com, you can see that snapshots were taken most recently in 2007. So, you choose a date from the list and click it. In this case 8 Jan 2007. And this takes you to an archived copy of the website on that date.
So, we can visit this evil site despite the DHS’s best efforts to censor it. We can view the archive of the DigiZine e-zine and read all that treacherous content that the US govt wants to protect us from! (There’s a link to the magazine archive here.)
But if you take the time to view the e-zine, you’re gonna wonder why in hell the DHS wants to block this site! The last issue was released in 2006. And the content is, on the whole, a lot tamer than what you can find elsewhere. This censorship makes no sense. Then again, when do any of the DHS’s actions make any sense?
Thing is, the content of Digizine.com is irrelevant. The point is, just about any website that the DHS want to “protect” us from can be accessed via the Wayback Machine. The US govt wants to keep us ignorant? No sweat, information always finds a way out of bondage. The internet is based on the idea that information wants to be free. And archive.org is a shining example of that freedom!

Digizine.com censored by Dept Homeland Security
Digizine.com censored by Dept Homeland Security