Little Black Hat Diary

Day 1

So when we finally arrive in Vegas, late of course (didn’t want to miss my class on interactivity!), we do introductions and then tour the facilities. Caesars Palace is huge!! And after all the walking around and being shown the rooms we go to get our rooms. The guy at the desk gives us an upgraded room, which was kind of awesome, but also means we’re further away. We had a lot of bags between Natasha and I; something like 8 plus 2 big purses. We get our very numerous heavy bags and make our way to our really nice room. It was really spacious. By the time we got situated (I’m one of those people that likes to unpack especially since we’ll be here a whole week) it was time for some sleep because the next morning we begin the grunt work.

Day 2.

Gaffers tape. We spent the entire day setting up rooms with internet and power and laying down lines and lines of gaffers tape which is worse then duct tape! My fingers were red and throbbing as well as my knees from crawling on the floor for 12 hours and my feet just from walking, even though I wore comfy shoes! We had some pretty good food, ate a ton of the mints and got some nice looking Black Hat shirts, they don’t have our handles on them, but they’re still really nice.

Day 3.

We spent the morning sleeping in which was great and then we started working in the store organizing the boxes. We were able to get off early and went for a dip in 1 of Caesar’s 7 pools and after that we tried to find the McDonalds right down the street. Saw the Bellagio water show and then realized we made a right instead of a left. The McDonalds was a mad house. It was so small and the lines were literally out the door. After that Natasha and I had been planning on dying our hair so we found the nearest Walmart by car. We decided to drive down Las Vegas Dr. instead of taking the highway, which took forever! We only traveled down it about a half mile and it took half an hour! It took us 5 hours to swim, eat and buy dye; we were exhausted and went to bed because we had to get up early the next day.

Day 4.

We spent hours and hours working in the store. From 8am-6pm we were basically in the store moving boxes and sorting merchandise. It was a long day and once we were done we finally decided to dye our hair. Mine came out a light pink, which wasn’t what I wanted. Tasha’s came out a reddish purple and it wasn’t exactly what she wanted, we’re both able to work with what we ended up with though and it looks pretty good enough.

Day 5.

I got to proctor today it was easy and fun. All I had to do was make sure people were able to get a hold of me if anything went wrong and then I was able to sit in on one of the classes. I decided to sit in on social engineering for penetration testers. It was really interesting and I think because I’m a girl I have an advantage at social engineering. It was a long day though and I barely saw Tasha because she was in the store. When I was finally off at 6pm we met up along with a couple of friends and finally Quincy then went to eat in the food court. I paid $20 for the worst taco salad I have ever had, I didn’t even eat most of it.

Day 6.

The days are feeling longer, I think it’s because we have to wake up at 6am to make it to breakfast and we’ve only had one morning off, but we’ve worked several nights. Tash got off after me like 3 hrs after I had already left for the day. Apparently the store is one of the worst jobs, long hours (morning to night) and no recognition. I know Natasha’s doing a great job, but I also know that she’s only got one token given to her by someone else. I’ve got 3, because I was able to earn a couple while I was proctoring. It was a long day for her. I just sat in class all day collecting paperwork from each of my classes, but still this schedule is getting to me, not to mention the long hours and the short breaks. I’m also sick of the food, but it’s free so I eat it.

Day 7.

Today I was back in the store bright and early. Half of the store team left for 5 hrs and came back later and that left the other half in the store while they were gone. There were a lot of new items when I came to the store; lots of lock picking equipment. Tash and I got off around 12 and then had to come back at 5 to clean up the store. We were off by 6:30 pm so we had time to look around and even went to a portal party where I played ping-pong with Josh for a bit. The table looked awesome and the black light effect was neat, but the ping-pong table was small and that really threw off my game. Josh won a portal gun by raffle, which was amazing, they called like 5 names before his and the people hadn’t shown up so they finally called Josh’s name! After that party broke up we tried to go to a few more, to no avail and ended up going back to the hotel. We were told to show up at 12 so we finally got to sleep in again!

Day 8.

I miss home. Today was an easy day when we came in at 12 we took lunch tickets and there were a lot of people eating lunch! Then we continued selling merchandise in the store, a lot of the clothing items had been sold and what did remain was in odd sizes like all the women’s clothing was in XL and some of the men’s clothing didn’t have larges. A lot of people were buying the hats and lock picking stuff.

The take down of the store didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would. We started counting inventory before the store was even closed and by 7pm we were done and gone. Later that night Quincy and I tried to go to a couple parties, we ended up being too late for the Microsoft one and couldn’t find the RSA one, but we ended up going to the Exploit Hub one. The party was nice and we even talked with an interesting guy named Caesar. We took a taxi back to the hotel and if we had known that the taxi ride would be so cheap ($15) we never would’ve walked all the way there!

Day 9.

Time to go home/ go to Defcon for a bit. So as a reward for volunteering (I think) we were given badges to get into Defcon. We woke up kind of early 9am, because we had to check out. I’ve learned my lesson about bags and especially about bags that don’t have wheels. The parking lot where my car was and the hotel room we were staying in were as far from each other as possible! And just like usual we go turned around in the hotel and went the wrong way. Longest trip to the car ever! At Defcon we saw a lot of the volunteers from Black Hat, we talked with some of them, but really I wanted to see all the things that Defcon had to offer as quickly as possible so that I could go home. There were a lot more women then I expected and a lot more children too, I guess they’re trying to make hacking a more family friendly event. I really enjoyed the Lockpick Village where I learned how to make a key out of an un-cut key by impressioning, and Tash and I were offered the opportunity to work Defcon next year at the lockpicking booth so we’re excited to hopefully be doing that. Next years going to be great! And the time spent volunteering was worth every ounce of sweat!