The scene was set: a surveillance camera, a safe full of money in a Las Vegas casino, a pair of thieves with lock picking tools and a laptop. I watched in awe as the skinny geeks clipped wires and rewired the feed so that it would loop ad finitum. Basically, they recreated the climax of Ocean’s 11 before my very eyes. But there were no police, and there was no big getaway. I was sitting in hotel conference center at DEF CON 23, the infamous hacker conference that brings hundreds of would be deviants to Sin City to learn how to do things like break into safes. The two hackers on stage were Zack Banks and Eric Van Albert, two MIT alums with a penchant for physical security. They pulled off the mini Ocean’s 11 heist in real time so that they could show off a technique for compromising an ethernet connection in order to gain access to surveillance cameras and loop the feeds without getting caught. The hack itself is simple enough. Using a custom-made tap board, Banks and Van Albert successfully spliced into an ethernet cable connected to a surveillance camera. The hardware enabled the hackers to connect […]
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