May 12th, 2009 by Vladimir Katalov

Apart from official IT Security events, London ethical hackers like to organize monthly meetings such as DC4420 in clubs, sometimes changing their location. In an informal manner they exchange their experience, represent new ideas and technologies.

We learned about this event first from icesurfer who follows us on twitter when he dropped by our booth at InfoSecurity Europe 2009 to say hello and so we’ve been lucky to get an invitation to this underground “techno-party”. 
After a busy day at the exhibition talking to all from sales guys to journalists this warm and welcome gathering tempted us to stay longer. However, our plane (back to Moscow) was to take off the next morning that is why we could only hear the first presentation (out of three) and to be frank got an over-the-top-pleasure hearing it.
In brief, Andrea Barisani and Daniele Bianco explained how one could find out what is being typed on the keyboard through searching electric signal oscillation registered on a common power socket or even water-pipe. All accompanied by humorous visuals starred by both speakers.
The second part of presentation introduced a new approach to a pretty known technology for electronic-acoustic reconnaissance – using laser microphone for registering sound vibration as far as 200-300m away. The idea is not fresh, and usually a common window serves as sound reflector. But our techies decided to use laptop cover/display for recording vibrations caused by pressing different keys on the keyboard. Each key has its particular sound. After analyzing laser vibration we get possible variants of typed text. Provided we know what language is being used, it is not a problem to find a right variant.
Smart presentations sandwiched between informal chatting and drinking beer gives an absolute sense of belonging to the world of wayward technologies.

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6 Responses to “DC4420”

  1. KARPOLAN says:

    Are they real hackers? 🙂

  2. Depends on what do you mean by “hacker” 🙂

    For me, the “hacker” is a sinynym of “geek”, as well as “very good developer”. The one who has a VERY DEEP technical knowledge of computers (both software and hardware), and learned assembler language earlier his native one (English, Russian, or whatever).

    Some people think that “hackers” are the persons who create botnets, write viruses, make DDoS attacks, steal credit card numbers and passwords etc. Actually, these are either criminals or script kiddies. Real hackers work for companies like ElcomSoft 😉

  3. In fact, it’s a common tendency to use a word “hacker” in all possible meanings (either positive or negative), so usually one can distinguish between bad-hacker-meaning and good-hacker-meaning only by context. That is why some people specify the term by adding adjectives like “ethical”, “evel”, or “malicious”.

    There was a nice article about it, called ‘Hacker vs. cracker’ (http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/security/?p=1400). So in the end, meaning of a word practically depends on what speaker wants to say.

  4. Robert Lee says:

    Hi, Now Vladimir I know what you look like after several years of emails! Really like getting your emails and the good info and links. I cut my teeth on machine code and really liked the nuts and bolts of making a computer work for us. Took a different path and got a way for it and now am so far behind I will never catch up. So enjoy the picture of where things are in your emails. Still wish you all would make your good programs work on a good platform of Linux.

    Keep up the good work and in touch. Robert

  5. Thanks!
    Yes, we’ll definitely support Linux — at least in EDPR.

  6. hd recovery says:

    I have windows 7 64-bit on a HP laptop and a WD Elements HDD (model number: WD10000EB035-01) I have had this HDD for over a year now and it has always worked on all XP, Vista and 7 machines I’ve connected it with. Yesterday it still worked fine, pc was shut down without any problems but then last night when I tried to connect him again, my system had difficulty recognizing him. He made the “found hardware”-sound, but didn’t show the autostart window (or what’s its name again), and it wasn’t displayed in windows explorer. It does show up in device manager and safely remove hardware list. This morning I tried a few things (reinstalling the driver, safe mode,…) and when I reconnected it, I got the message “You need to format this drive before using it”. It was also in windows explorer (called Local Disk (G:) instead of Elements (G:) ) but when I tried to open it, explorer stopped running. I tried reconnecting it a few more times but sometimes it did show, sometimes it didn’t. I have also tried a system recovery but no result. I have formatted it a few weeks ago because sometimes my system wouldn’t recognize it as Elements (it also said “Local Disk”), but reconnecting was the trick back then. After the format, I’ve never had any problems with it…I’m starting to think it’s broken, or is there a solution? If not, is there any possibility of recovering my files? I have about 500GB of files on it and I really would hate to lose them of course..

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