Black Hat 2013 (For Real This Time)

This year, I got to be a volunteer at Black Hat 2013. It was a fun experience, and I had a blast working with the other volunteers and participating in the events.

As with the HCI International Conference, Black Hat took place in Las Vegas. This year was at Caesar’s Palace. The volunteers were broken up into three main categories: Registration, Runner, and Networking. As a member of the registration team, my team and I were responsible for making sure everyone knew where to go to register and ensuring that the lines were never too crowded. This was a pretty easy job, and we had a lot of downtime in between the line rushes.

Sometimes, when registration was slow, I would get pulled in to help other teams with their tasks. If any of you guys went to Black Hat and received a conference bag, there’s a possibility that I helped put all the goodies in it.

When I was off-shift, I was able to wander around Black Hat and Las Vegas. My favorite part was being able to sit in on the Social Engineering training. I sat in for about two hours on the third day of training. The people taking the class had been given homework to use the social engineering techniques they had learned in the class. As small three-person groups, they would pick a target and extract three specific questions about them (and anything else that the target was willing to share).

One my my favorite stories was from a group of guys who decided to go into a bar and play the part of the fun party guys. They used social games, like truth or dare and Never Have I Ever, to get the information they needed for their homework.

Once the sponsor exhibit opened up, I was able to wander around there as well. The sponsor hall was fun because it was mostly about talking to companies about what they do and receiving free stuff. I came back from Black Hat with so many free shirts that its not even funny!

Another perk from being a volunteer was getting into the VIP Speakers party. This was an opportunity to meet and network with all the speakers, as well as getting to know my fellow volunteers better. The Speakers party was probably my favorite part because of the ability to have personal connections. (Plus, I met a speaker with Google Glass, so that was awesome!)

And I know this blog is super wordy, so to make up for that, I will link to some official Black Hat pictures.

Tl;dr: Black Hat was fun. I worked a lot, but I also got to learn and socialize. If you get the chance, you should definitely go!

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