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While writing for TTAG is fun, the world of information and cyber security is my day job. Hackers are my people, and more often than not, they too have a love for tinkering with the mechanics and laws related to firearms. Every year before the Def Con Conference a group of like-minded individuals gather in the desert to blow off some steam and light off some cordite. Naturally the BBC just about trashed their Fruit of the Looms at the idea of hackers shooting guns, because that’s two concepts they barely understand (freedom, both on the range and the internet). So when they found both in the same place at the same time . . .

From the article:

This week sees 16,000 hackers gather in Las Vegas for Def Con, a convention dedicated to the art of subverting computer systems.

Before it starts, a small number of the hackers drive out in the desert to shoot guns. It is a rare opportunity for them to get some “trigger time” in the open rather than an enclosed shooting range.

Shooters brought all kinds of weapons to the event but only one person brought a cannon.

“But only one person brought a cannon.” They almost sound disappointed.

[h/t Deviant Ollam for the photo]

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    • There is a difference-that would be JWM, because you value your rights under the 2nd A. Their disappointment stems from the reminder of subjugation which they see as sorely missing in America. Multiple cannons held by the state would have been a reminder of the fact that they are subjects, a single citizen in possession of such tools of war…..the Horror.

  1. Sounds familiar. Was into guns when I was younger and got back into them the last few years after my last divorce. I enjoy the challenge of getting a tight group on a target from a distance, the ballistics, how guns work and the fellowship of shooting with friends and others at the ranges. I have also been into computers since about 1968 and was an automobile mechanic and shop owner before I retired. So, I can relate to this article. I suspect that many people who enjoy solving puzzles also enjoy guns. I think guns, computers and puzzles all have similar challenges.

    • Watches and clocks, too. It makes sense, given how watchmaking and gunsmithing went together in the early days. The mechanics of a good watch are every bit as interesting as the design of a fine firearm in my view.

    • Likewise.

      Combine the precision mechanism of a fine Swiss watch with the feeling of raw power of a 60’s muscle car. Perfect hobby for me.

      And once I pointed out to my wife that guns are orders of magnitude less expensive than watches, and much easier to house than a backyard full of cars, she agrees. 🙂

  2. Your threshold for thinking someone has shit their pants is alarmingly low, Nick.

    All that blurb says is that some hackers went out to the desert to shoot. And that there was a cannon.

    You’re kind of scraping the bottom of the poutrage barrel if that’s the best you can come up with.

  3. At my range, among the service rifle shooters those who work in IT have a disproportionately high representation. And I’m one of them.

    • I dunno if it’s still active, but Microsoft used to have a Gun Club. They held events at a range I occasionally shot at near Bellevue.

  4. Wait.. What?
    No one was playing digital Russian Roulette by mounting their Tracking Point scope to a “death drone” and given X amount of time to hack the scope to make it miss them when it fires?
    Now that’s good tv…
    Especially when they have that whole 30 feet wifi range issue. Heheh

    And to top that, only one hacker had the balls to bring his cannon?… WTF
    I guess anyone that that knows the ctrl alt delete trick qualifies as a hacker to the media now huh..
    sounds like they were expecting a row of hackers(spotters) on laptops hacking each other’s ballistic app Trying to throw off the other shooters?. ???
    No offense to security guys and actual hackers… What you do is beyond impressive…
    The media is welcome to take as muuuuch of fence as they please.. 🙂

    • The whole section about them ‘bringing all kinds of weapons, but only one hacker brought his cannon’ doesn’t make much sense.
      Was it cannon day and only one guy showed up and won by default?
      an “event” to me is more than a few guys plinking at beer bottles outside in the desert somewhere.
      I guess I just don’t understand the point of the article.

  5. The “Hacker” moniker is as misunderstood as it is abused. As a dedicated InfoSec professional, I _want_ these guys banging on as much application, operating system, and infrastructure as they can access. In many cases, folks like these are the only thing keeping corner-cutting lazy “programmers” from dishing out sloppy, vulnerability-filled code as the public will choke down.

    The burr in the saddle for Euro journalists remains a singular point of pride for the US: anti-establishment “we don’t believe you, we’ll find out for ourselves” non-conformist folks have the freedom to express their second amendment rights. Shame on us.


    • “n many cases, folks like these are the only thing keeping corner-cutting lazy “programmers” from dishing out sloppy, vulnerability-filled code as the public will choke down.”

      You mean everything emanating out of Silicon Valley?

  6. Considering most people fly to the Defcon-Black Hat convention it’s not really all that surprising, considering airline fees for extra baggage. I wouldn’t bring too much of my shooting gear with me at any rate. Last time I went I had 2 laptops and couple Mini-ITX servers with all the necessary hardware/software to forensically analyze and rebuild everything that gets compromised.

    The only time I every drove to the conventions was when I was living in CA and nothing I owned while living there was worth bringing with me.

    Respectfully Submitted

  7. Outside of LE and military, the most common occupation for shooters that I know personally is in the technology world. This isn’t surprising.

    I’m glad for it too, since the shooting scene needs all the technological help it can get to combat the social media push from the antis.

  8. Last time I was at DEFCON I had a good chat with some Australian gun owners on how they subvert (legally) their country’s asinine firearm and ammunition laws. Haven’t gone to the gun shoot; plan to the next time I find myself at DEF CON. I’ve heard of the cannon, apparently it’s a star of the event.

  9. Our IT guy was there. Not in the picture above, though. He showed us his range badge when he got back; pretty cool for a badge; shot timer/counter. I need to identify junkets to get sent on too; too bad software development conferences lack the cool crap you get at ITSec conferences. 🙁

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