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Criminal hacker passes on Defcon to make mortgage payment

Aug 02, 20092 mins
Core Java

As I walked out of the Riviera Hotel at Defcon today, I saw a man in very non-typical Defcon attire (a suit) get hauled away by Las Vegas police. He could have been the guy who got busted for carrying a concealed weapon at the conference. He sure didn’t look like the other arrest I heard about today: the guy who tried to bungie jump off of the roof.

Hey, it’s Defcon, and while there hasn’t the same kind of drama that spiced up the conference the past two years (a Dateline NBC undercover reporter ejected, speakers sued by the Boston MBTA) that has left more time for me to meet more of the seriously interesting people who come to the conference.

Defcon can be a lot of things, but here’s one that you’ve probably never heard of: A predictor of the housing crash.

In July 2005, 2 hackers were chatting about botnets and Internet advertising companies. One of them, Acid,  was actually John Schiefer; who was sentenced to four years in prison last March. In this transcript of their IM session, entered as evidence in trial, Acid, asked the other hacker, Harro, if he was going to Defcon.

When hackers are taking a pass on Defcon (admission fee at the time: $100) because of mortgage pressure, you know you’re living in a bubble.

By the way, there was no Trojan on the Defcon CD.