About René Pfeiffer

System administrator, lecturer, hacker, security consultant, technical writer and DeepSec organisation team member. Has done some particle physics, too. Prefers encrypted messages for the sake of admiring the mathematical algorithms at work.

DeepSec 2020 Mission Control – Behind the Scenes

René Pfeiffer/ November 20, 2020/ Administrivia, Conference/ 0 comments

The fully virtual DeepSec conference was very different from the usual configuration and setting. While we learned a lot over the years, there is one constant: What’s the difference between hardware and software? Well, hardware can be kicked. There is always one converter, one computer, one network devices, one USB device, or something else that doesn’t quite fit into the ensemble. Then there are the many desktop oddities and multimedia formats. So we had to do some damage control during the first day of streaming (having damage control teams and replacement parts ready is not just for ships). Networking did its own magic by introducing delays between the speaker’s feed and the live stream. Fortunately the stream connections held, and we had no losses in terms of connectivity. Mission control at the office used

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Thanks for attending and contributing to DeepSec 2020!

René Pfeiffer/ November 20, 2020/ Conference/ 0 comments

The past four days were quite busy for the DeepSec Organisation Team. We had to prepare the realspace implementation of our mission control in our office. We had to fight some gremlins in hardware and software, but we managed to create the stream feeds. We hope you enjoyed the presentations! The streams were recorded, and we will start with the post-processing. Due to the dual-track – and the ROOTS event – one always has to decide which presentation to watch. In our long-time tradition attendees and speakers will get to watch the videos first (for quality assurance), and then we will release the whole DeepSec 2020 collection. We recommend your favourite lounge, drink, and company for watching the recordings later. A very big thanks go to everyone contributing content, being part of the events,

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Administrivia: New Stream Link for DeepSec 2020 Right Pirouette!

René Pfeiffer/ November 19, 2020/ Conference/ 0 comments

The stream link for the DeepSec 2020 Right Pirouette track has changed. Somehow the cloud ate our old link (end event). No recordings were lost, just the link to the streaming platform. We apologies for this change, but there is not much we can investigate. The password is the same. For a complete list: DeepSec 2020 Right Pirouette track – https://vimeo.com/481384818 DeepSec 2020 Left Pirouette track – https://vimeo.com/event/475468 The closing presentation will be after the last presentation in the Right Pirouette (as always when on-site at the conference hotel).

DeepSec Schedule updated, Time-Shift introduced, Theory of General Relativity still valid

René Pfeiffer/ November 18, 2020/ Conference/ 0 comments

We have verified the DeepSec schedule and did some changes. The layout looks a bit shifted. The reason is a time-shift between the two DeepSec main tracks Left Pirouette and Right Pirouette (named after the rooms in our long-time conference hotel). Since we have set up our mission control in our office and lack the space to have two session chairs use the stage and the camera feed simultaneously the two tracks need to be time-shifted. The presentations in the Left Pirouette start 20 minutes later than the presentations in the Right Pirouette. We tried hard to avoid this, but the current configuration requires adding this feature to the schedule. The two tracks overlap any way, so if you are interested in either talk, then you have to make up your mind with or

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DeepSec Keynote: DevSecBioLawOps and the current State of Information Security

René Pfeiffer/ November 13, 2020/ Conference/ 0 comments

Technology is evolving. This is especially true for computer science and the related information technology branch. When everything is outdated after a couple of months, the wind of change turns into a storm. It also affects the way we work, processes which enable us to get work done, and changes perspectives how we see the world, code, and its applications. Dev, DevOps, and DevSecOps is a good example how these changes look like at the top of the iceberg. Subjectively information security is always a few steps behind the bleeding edge. The word „bleeding“ is a good indication of why this is the case. However, security professionals cannot turn back time and ignore the way the world works. New technology will always get pushed into all areas of our lives until its creators realise

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A Story of Crypto Wars, the Growth on the Internet, and possible future Regulations

René Pfeiffer/ November 9, 2020/ Discussion, High Entropy/ 0 comments

The discussion about how to tackle end-to-end encryption (E2EE) and how to reconcile it with surveillance is almost 30 years old. The very first Crypto War was sparked by the Comprehensive Counter-Terrorism Act of 1991 (no, there is no mention of cryptography in it, because it was the first draft of a series of legislative texts dealing with a reform of the US justice system; have a look at the author of the act). In the following years things like strong cryptography, export bans on mathematics, or the creation of Phil Zimmerman’s Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) were a follow-up. Even the proposal of having the Clipper chip present in telecommunication devices and the concept of key escrow was discussed in the wake of the reform. Sometimes laws have to grow with the technology. All

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Condolences and Sympathies to Families of the Victims #wienATTACK #0211w

René Pfeiffer/ November 3, 2020/ Conference/ 0 comments

We wish to express our deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and wish a speedy recovery to the injured of last nights attacks in Vienna. Our thoughts are with them and the many women and men protecting the everyday life in the city. Vienna is one of the safest cities in Europe. Since 2007 the DeepSec team enjoys bringing you all to this wonderful city. We will continue to do this. Information security is a team effort and so is creating safe places for everyone. Don’t give the extremists the stage. Ignore them and care about the ones deserving your attention. Stay safe, stay healthy!

Administrivia: Update on COVID-19 Regulations concerning DeepINTEL and DeepSec

René Pfeiffer/ November 2, 2020/ Conference/ 0 comments

On 31 October 2020 at 1730 the Austrian government held a press release to announce new COVID-19 regulations. Since this press release was only the political message and the actual legally binding regulation is still not published we cannot give you an update yet. We don’t know when the regulation will be published. Given these circumstances we cannot give you any more details, but we are working on it. We hope to have more details on Tuesday/Wednesday. We assure you that we have contingency plans, because we expected this situation a few months ago.

World of Metrics: Trick or Threat? How do you know for sure?

René Pfeiffer/ October 31, 2020/ Conference/ 0 comments

Today begins the „darker half“ of the year. The harvesting season has ended. The year ends as well (depending on how you count the days and mark the start of the year). People celebrate Samhain, Halloween, or other festive days. In information security there is always a harvest season, and there is no darker half of the year. 2020 is no exception despite the extraordinary situation given the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. So how do you decide what exceptions look like? What is a trick? What’s the difference between a trick and a threat? If you supervise any kind of digital infrastructure or set of systems, then these questions are very important. Metrics is a hot topic – an euphemism for a dirty word – in computer science. It is used in other fields as well.

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Administrivia: Welcome to the Vienna Marriott Hotel – DeepSec & DeepINTEL move to a new Location

René Pfeiffer/ October 27, 2020/ Conference/ 0 comments

Interesting times call for extraordinary measures. Due to current restrictions DeepSec and DeepINTEL move to a new location. Both conferences will be at the Vienna Marriott Hotel right next to the inner city. The conference is easy to reach and a lot of historic places are in walking distance. Inside the hotel DeepSec and DeepINTEL will be conducted as a hybrid conference. We will have a mixture of on-site and virtual presentations. Information about participating (links and codes) will be sent to you after registration.

Administrivia: DeepSec and DeepINTEL Preparations, Anti-Virus Issues, Schedule, and digital Conference

René Pfeiffer/ October 8, 2020/ Conference/ 0 comments

We have been stuck in administrative tasks for the past weeks. So to break the radio silence: Yes, DeepSec and DeepINTEL will happen. We currently prepare the hybrid configuration for the streams and the virtual platforms to bring speakers to the audience and vice versa. The conference hotel has confirmed that we can conduct the event at the usual location. Claiming that things look good is a bit of an exaggeration. Nevertheless we would like to go forward. Exchanging ideas and discussing current threats has never been more important than now. We hope to give you this opportunity, and we hope that you are able to participate. We have also created a couple of mailing lists for informal news, official press releases/articles, and future Calls for Papers to keep you informed. All lists are

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Administrivia: DeepSec 2020 will turn into a hybrid conference

René Pfeiffer/ September 22, 2020/ Administrivia, Conference/ 0 comments

The current travel warnings and COVID-19 statistics have an impact on the DeepSec 2020 conference. As we expected, travel is the major obstacle. This means that DeepSec 2020, ROOTS, and DeepINTEL will turn into a hybrid event. We will still be on-site at the conference hotel. Presentations will be on-site and available by our conference streaming platform in parallel. Speakers that cannot be in Vienna will stream their presentations. Everything will be live, and everyone attending physically and virtually can participate. Furthermore, we constantly update our COVID-19 health protection in order to keep you and everyone here in Vienna at the conference safe. Two trainings are already virtually (right from the start). We are exploring which trainings can switch to a virtual mode and will update the schedule accordingly. In case you are interested

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Administrivia: DeepSec 2020, Virtual Content, Travel Warnings, Trainings

René Pfeiffer/ September 16, 2020/ Conference/ 0 comments

Reading the news can be very frustrating these days. Not that it was ever fun. We are monitoring the current COVID-19 situation in Europe and abroad. Given the questionable start of the Corona Traffic Light system in Austria, we want to offer you some facts. The training Black Belt Pentesting / Bug Hunting Millionaire: Mastering Web Attacks with Full-Stack Exploitation and Mobile Security Testing Guide Hands-On will be virtual. This has been our and the trainer’s decision from the start due to travel regulations. Depending on the travel situation other trainings may switch to a virtual training as well. It depends on the content, and the trainers need to agree. Some of the DeepSec 2020 presentations will be virtual. Again this is due to travel regulations. Most of the presentation will still be on-site

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Reminder for your Training @ DeepSec 2020: Exploiting Race Conditions – Dawid Czagan

René Pfeiffer/ September 15, 2020/ Conference/ 0 comments

A race condition attack is one of the most dangerous and underestimated attacks on modern web applications. It’s related to concurrency and multithreading.  As a result of this attack an attacker, who has $1000 in his bank account, can transfer way more than $1000 from his bank account. This is just one example, but it clearly shows how dangerous this attack is. If you develop or use software connected to a network, then this is for you. In a free video Dawid Czagan (DeepSec Instructor) will show you step-by-step how this attack works and tell you how to prevent this attack from happening. Watch this free video and feel the taste of Dawid Czagan’s Live Online Training ”Black Belt Pentesting / Bug Hunting Millionaire: Mastering Web Attacks with Full-Stack Exploitation” (DeepSec 2020; mind the date

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Administrivia: COVID-19 and Schedule Update

René Pfeiffer/ September 15, 2020/ Conference/ 0 comments

We have been busy working on the schedule, the preparations for DeepSec/DeepINTEL, and our COVID-19 protection plan. As you may know, Austria has introduced a Corona „traffic light“ system to mark the spread of COVID-19 cases. We have added a section to our COVID-19 countermeasures describing what the traffic light colours mean. Since we rely on our own protection measures based on guidelines by health experts, DeepSec and DeepINTEL can happen unless a total lock-down is in place. The schedule has some updates. We have added two new presentations. Denis Kolegov will dissect IPSec UDP, a custom undocumented VPN protocol. It lacks the cryptographic strength and perfect forward secrecy. The protocol has severe flaws which allows attackers to reconstruct the keys and decrypt the whole network traffic. In addition Paula de la Hoz will

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