Good Advice for Edgy Demos in Talks: Be Patient

This guest posting ex-cypherpunk mordaxus at Emergent Chaos gets how judges think. And uses the word “gedanken” properly. Must be someone I know. The “gedanken” limits the field some too.

Emergent Chaos: The Punch Line Goes at the End

Last year, the big cancellation was the team of MIT students who broke the Boston MBTA Charlie Card system. There was a legal injunction put against them that spoilt their presentation. The fault, in my opinion went to them for naming their talk, “How To Get Free Subway Rides For Life.”

Imagine that you are a judge who is interrupted from an otherwise pleasant Saturday by panicky people who want an injunction against a talk with such a dramatic NAME, you ll at least listen to them. You decide that sure, no harm to society will come from an injunction from Saturday til Monday, and you d be right. No harm came to society, DefCon was merely a little less interesting.

Now imagine that you are the same judge and you re asked for an injunction against the talk, A Practical Cryptanalysis of the Mifare Chip as Implemented in the MBTA. That one can wait until Monday, and the talk goes on.

In a similar gedanken experiment, imagine that you are the VP of Corporate Communications for the XYZ ATM Corp. You learn that in a few weeks, someone is going to do ATM Jackpot with one of your ATMs in some show in Vegas. Despite the fact that someone else in the company approved it, what do you? You pressure them to cancel. Duh. If you don t, then you re going to spend most of August reassuring people about your products, your boss is going to be really ticked at you after all, isn t it the job of Corporate Communications to control these things? , and it s just going to be no fun. This is also why you re paid the big bucks, to make embarrassments go away.

This is why if you are a researcher, you do not NAME your talk, ATM Jackpot you NAME it Penetration Testing of Standalone Financial Services Systems. It is only on stage that you fire up the flashing lights and clanging bells and make the ATM spit out C-notes for minutes on end. That would get you all the publicity for your talk that you want, and you actually get to give it. Remember, do as I say, not as I do. If you have a flashy Black Hat talk, put the punch line at the end of the joke.

But impressed as I am with the acuity of the analysis, I'd like to know why the site caused a cross-site scripting attack warning to come up when I auto-pasted the above into my blog. First time ever that has happened.

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One Response to Good Advice for Edgy Demos in Talks: Be Patient

  1. I’m gedanking as hard as I can, but have no idea who he or she is. not me in any case. Foreign words appearing in English sentences mi fanno cagare.

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