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What is Hacking, Really? Insights into Breaches and Exploits
Monday, October 19, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
“Hackers” have become emblazoned in our society. They dominate news headlines, are featured in prominent Hollywood movies, and have become larger than life — instilling fear in IT professionals and awe in many young computer scientists. Who are these people, what does it mean “hack” something, and what the heck is a binary? Surely, you have seen a news headline that talks about hackers stealing data, taking over cars, or disrupting power plants and thought to yourself, “how did they do that; is that even possible?”
In this talk, my goal is to convince you that “hacking” isn’t that hard, and try to tease apart fact from fiction with respect to hackers. I will highlight some hacking techniques and show you how to “own” a computer. We will explore some of the technical limitations of our current computing systems and why they are exploitable. Finally, I will walk you through a simple example of binary exploitation, and how you can make a program do things it wasn’t intended to do. At the end of this talk, you should be able to read news headlines with sufficient skepticism and, in some rare cases, considerable respect for the hacker’s skills.