How to survive Black Hat and Defcon without getting hacked -- maybe

Among the thousands of security experts at the Black Hat, Defcon and Security BSides conferences next week in Las Vegas, some will surely test whether they can break into nearby laptops, phones, networks -- even RFID-enabled room keys and credit cards.

QUIZ: Black Hat's most notorious incidents

Based on hacks in previous years, conference veterans realize the possibility of being owned, and some who blog have issued tips for how to use electronic devices safely and lock them down. Here are tips from two of them, McAfee blogger Joris Evers and Robert Auger on the CGISecurity blog:

= Use a laptop that doesn't contain valuable information. More secure still, but a little crippling, don't bring a laptop at all.

= Patch everything -- operating systems, browsers, firewalls, VPN clients, Java -- everything.

= Don't use Wi-Fi networks, or at least turn off the feature to autoconnect to nearby Wi-Fi networks. Stick with the wired network in your hotel room.

= Don't forget your smartphone. If it has Wi-Fi support, turn off Wi-Fi access.

= Beware USB sticks. Don't use any you borrow, find or receive as gifts at the conferences. If you bring one and use it to sneakernet files onto someone else's computer, don't stick it back in your computer.

= Similarly, beware conference downloads and CDs. Based on past conferences, they might be infected.

= Configure your firewall to block all incoming ports and require outgoing apps to receive manual approval to access the network.

= Update your antivirus software.

= Disable Bluetooth.

= Use a privacy screen on your laptop.

= Clear your browser history and cookies.

= Don't use cellphones within 1,000 feet of the conferences to avoid phony cell stations.

= Use RFID blockers on items such as passports, credit cards and room keys that may be RFID-enabled.

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mcafeeintrusionDefcon

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Greene

Network World
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?