Bomb hoax disrupts Defcon

Originally published at: Bomb hoax disrupts Defcon | Boing Boing


‘eBadges? we don’ need no steeek’n…’ here’s a nice slide-stack/pdf on the history of Defcon badges, many complete with sssschematics*.

(*extra 'ssss’s as a nod toward the inimitable Big Clive)


Did they find a strange box with LEDs, wires and batteries?


I feel like messing with DEFCON attendees is a bad idea…


I understand why people feel compelled to act out of an abundance of caution when someone phones in a bomb threat, but is “terrorists calling to inform targets about an actual bomb” a thing that ever happens in real life? It seems like if a terrorist’s goal was to maximize horror they’d set the bomb off with no warning and take credit immediately afterward.

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It is nice to the term “wazzock” pop up in a news report.

I guess it depends on the objective of the bombers, but it was definitely, it was all the rage during the 70’s. Phoning in a bomb warning allows the bombers to cause fear and promote their cause without making themselves too unpopular with the general population.


I was at Blackhat 2010/DEFCON 18 and due to my stupid choice to attend “just one more” Blackhat session, I missed the opening of LINECON by an hour. Literally at the time I got up to the booth, they had just sold out the last of the 7000 real badges and started handing out paper badges! So damn frustrating! >:-(

However, it was not “bomb threat” frustrating.

And badges have just gotten more and more outlandish over time. From blinky LEDs to SoCs with OLED displays to the creation of a brand new electronic standard (the Shitty Add-On (SAO) pinout), badge designers just keep upping the ante.

Like everything else at DEFCON, the awe inspired by the efforts these otaku pour into their badges is a pure dopamine trigger. It’s no wonder people keep returning, even though the crowds make it nearly impossible to attend much of anything.

Every nerd deserves to make the hajj to DEFCON at least once.


The IRA used to call in about real bombs frequently (but not always)


I was in England around 2000, and the IRA called in a fake bomb on my train. The scuttlebutt amongst the passengers was that the IRA at the time felt it was much cheaper and no less effective to phone in, say, ten fake bombs for every real one. Same economic disruption, less bloodshed (avoiding increased military presence and police attention). That was just the chatter among the disgruntled passengers, but it made sense tactically to me at the time.


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