Redefining Offensive Cybersecurity at the Ultimate Hacker Playground

by Dec 28, 2023General

By: BuddoBot Team

Welcome, fellow campers, to the not-so-traditional summer camp experience of a lifetime! But don’t let the word “camp” fool you—there won’t be any marshmallow roasting or sing-alongs around the campfire here.  This is Hacker Summer Camp – where a diverse range of people from hackers to business leaders to cyber enthusiasts gather in “The City of Lights” for cybersecurity’s most popular conventions.  BSides Las Vegas, Black Hat, and DEF CON are the three main events during this summertime extravaganza.  And while each con fosters its own unique vibe, their overall missions are the same:  to provide a platform for learning, networking, and community building.

This year, the BuddoBot team embarked on a journey into the heart of cybersecurity’s summer oasis and attended Black Hat and DEF CON. And we’re here to give you a behind-the-scenes peek. We presented seven talks/workshops, shared ALL the fun swag, and met the coolest people. A few folks even got to see our CEO, Luke, do an awesome demo on social engineering pin codes for cellphones and a password crack demo with a deck of cards. Oh, and we walked an average of almost 20,000 steps a day. But that’s Vegas for you!

The Talks

Our CISO, Jason, didn’t just dip our toes into the pool of presentations; he cannonballed in with a whopping seven talks and workshops.  With the help of top-tier talent at each talk, every session was a resounding success.  To those who attended, thank you – you made the best audiences! And a big shout out to the villages that hosted us – you made our Vegas debut epic.

Black Hat:

  • Tales from the Breach at the CISO Summit
  • Easy ASM – Arsenal Talk – Check out the blog here!


  • Red Team Panel at Recon Village
  • Cloud Recon at Cloud Village
  • Easy ASM at Recon Village – Check out the blog here!
  • SusParams at AppSec Village
  • Recon Workshop at Red Team Village

Individual blog posts and webinars coming soon!

The Swag

Everyone loves swag.  Especially Hacker Summer Campers.  At BuddoBot, we strive to have unique, quality gear and have so much fun sharing it with everyone.  We wanted to start our Vegas premiere off right, so what better way than with custom badges, challenge coins, and stickers in tow?


#BadgeLife is a serious passion among the hacker community.  What started as an attendee’s token of admission has turned into a need to collect.  them.  all.  And there’s no better place to find the coolest badges than at DEF CON.

We were stoked at the opportunity to work with the super-talented Ahbinav to create a custom Buddo badge.  For our first badge, it was a no-brainer to go with a design that features the very foundation of our company culture – our hex logo.

The hexagon shape is a nod to the hexagonal patterns that are prevalent in nature due to their efficiency and strength (e.g., beehives, molecular structure, etc.).  The design in the middle depicts the gravitational pull and harmony between the Buddo (life, friendliness, collaboration) and the Bot (hardworking, technical, efficient).

The result was better than expected – Ahbinav really knocked it out of the park. Check out the full creation story here and see the badge lights in action!

Challenge coins

Challenge coins are more than just collectible tokens; they are symbols of honor, camaraderie, and achievement.  Their origins can be traced back to a daring pilot who, after being shot down behind enemy lines, managed to escape and find his way back to his unit.  To prove his identity, he carried a small, engraved coin as evidence of his affiliation.  This practice of carrying specially designed coins quickly gained popularity within military units, becoming a symbol of unity and belonging.

Today, challenge coins are not limited to the military.  They represent a shared bond and are often exchanged as a sign of respect or a token of appreciation.  Whether you’re in the service, law enforcement, or part of a specialized group, receiving a challenge coin carries a sense of pride and accomplishment.

For our challenge coin debut, we wanted to do something simple yet bold, so we showcased our hex logo and company tagline.


Another coveted collectible in the hacker community – stickers!  And Hacker Summer Camp is flooded with the best of the best, from pop culture throwbacks to cybersecurity puns, or company logos with amazing artwork. You’ll find stickers all throughout Vegas during these cons, but DEF CON takes the cake.

Behold… the DEF CON Sticker Wall! Can you spot BuddoBot’s stickers?!

DEF CON even has its own Unofficial Sticker Swap!  That’s right… a “secret” meet-up for anyone to exchange the coolest stickers.  And this year, BuddoBot came prepared.  We may have even thrown some challenge coins into the mix 😉

Be sure to follow @dcstickerswap on X to be in the know for next year!

Security Tips

While Hacker Summer Camp is mostly fun and games, it’s also important to prioritize your personal and digital security.  These cons attract diverse crowds, including the good and the bad.  To ensure your safety and make the most of your time, we’ve put together a set of essential security tips.

  • 🐑 Steer Clear of the Wall of Sheep:  DEF CON offers two Wi-Fi networks – DON’T use either of them!  One is free and will get your username on the Wall of Sheep.  This is more to teach attendees than to shame them… but no one wants to be broadcast as a sheep.
  • 🚫 NO Wi-Fi and Bluetooth:  In fact, shut your Wi-Fi down from the Settings on your devices (this prevents your devices from “automatically” trying to connect to local networks/Wi-Fi).  While you’re at it, shut your Bluetooth off too (be sure to have corded earbuds)!  Don’t connect to Wi-Fi at any hotels either…. Remember, you’re staying in the same spot as all sorts of hacker types.  So you’ll need a tether cord to use your Personal Hotspot with your computer… if you’re brave enough to use a computer/device while you’re there.
  • 📱 Phone Security:  Use facial recognition to unlock your device – don’t use your PIN code – you never know who is watching (especially at a con with 30,000 people).  Pro-Tip:  You can even set up your phone with additional facial recognition to recognize you with a mask on.
  • 💼 A Faraday bag or something similar isn’t a bad idea; however, it all depends on the likelihood of being a target and how secure you want to be.  They even sell Faraday bags in the Vendor Area.
  • 💬 Download the texting app, Signal to keep communications between you and your friends secure.  We used Slack as it is also a secure communication tool.
  • 💻 Use a VPN on all devices.  We used ExpressVPN on our MacBook’s and our phones.
  • 🪪 Keep your ID/driver’s license face down in your wallet/purse/whatever – no one can view any of your PII/details upon opening.
  • 💵 CASH ONLY – your credit cards can get swiped and there have been numerous instances of cards being hacked… plus, DEF CON is cash only!

Buddo Advice

We had quite the team in Vegas; first-timers and Hacker Summer Camp Veteran.  They put together a list of words of wisdom to impart to those who attend next year.

  • “The Unofficial Sticker Swap is a must – so many cool stickers!”
  • “Don’t touch the merch in the hotel rooms – they aren’t always free!”
  • “Vegas is BIG.  Nothing is ‘close by’ or ‘across the street.’”
  • “There is something for everyone at DEF CON.  Do your research and align your interests with their offerings.”
  • “Bring a comfortable bag/backpack for all the fun stuff you collect!”
  • “Learn the ‘Narnia’ paths through the conventions to avoid crowds and get to talks faster.”
  • “Be aware of your surroundings – there’s a lot going on at all times.”
  • “Download the Signal app for a safe/easy way to communicate with others and the DEF CON app for live updates.”
  • “Get in LineCon as early as you can!”
  • “When you get to Vegas, go to a store off The Strip (Target, Walmart, local grocer) and buy your basics:  bottled water, granola/protein bars and other snacks, and whatever your choice of caffeine.  On The Strip, you’re gonna pay exorbitant prices for basics.  For example:  a large bottle of water is $6+ on The Strip, while a quart of water is $1.59 at Target off The Strip.  Tea/Coffee at the convention locations is $7 for a small 12oz cup!   Save yourself some major cash and stock up!”
  • “Make reservations for dinner and variety show as soon as you know you’re headed to Vegas.  Many of the popular spots are booked months in advance.”
  • “Get Monorail passes!  It will save your achin’ feet a few extra aches!
  • “Speaking of, be sure to wear good shoes – even with the Monorail passes, you’re gonna do a lot of walking.”

In closing…

…if you want to attend Hacker Summer Camp – do it.  Plan it.  Buy the shoes and go.  It’s a fascinating menagerie of the eclectic, the mundane, the goth-ish, the skater dudes (and dudettes), the average Joes (and Joanns), every imaginable he/she/they, every culture, every race…. everyone.  It will teach you the basics of cybersecurity, the in-depth next-level stats, from UFOs to aluminum foil hat contests, and everything in between.  Be smart.  Be safe.

See you all next year!

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