DEF CON 9 'HackerFest' includes talk on eBook security
ElcomSoft staff scheduled to discuss, demonstrate weaknesses
11 July 2001
By Kurt Foss, Planet PDF Editor
As they have for the past eight years, a swarm of computer hackers
and crackers from around the world will soon gather again at the
annual DEF CON gathering, described as an "underground party" where
attendees can share secrets, stories and most of all, their mutual
love/disdain for computer security. The fun begins anew in Las Vegas
unofficially on July 12, with the popular speaker presentations
starting the next day -- appropriately enough, Friday the 13th.
The heart of the "largest hacking convention on the planet" (at
least according to its promoters), the technical talks and
demonstrations cover a wide range of topics -- some probably even
legal. Perhaps as a reminder that even though they share the same bad
habits, attendees are not necessarily surrounded by friends is this
suggestion from convention organizers:
"Stuff to Bring: A large bag with a lock, so you can protect your
stuff if people crash in your room."
The list of speakers and presentations scheduled for DEF CON9
includes at least one session of interest to eBook enthusiasts,
especially devotees of Adobe's portable document format (PDF).
A presentation on "eBooks security -- theory and practice" is
slated to share one group's exploration of the "security aspects of
electronic books and documents," and reportedly will include a
demonstration "of how weak they are."
This theme will sound familiar if you've been reading some of our
recent Planet eBook reports about Adobe Systems updating its Acrobat
eBook Reader in response to a security crack by a Russian software
The two presenters listed for the eBook security presentation are
employees of ElcomSoft, the same Moscow-based company that Adobe
alleges is in violation of Section
1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
"There is one big problem that related with eBooks," their
presentation preview notes. "Information in electronic form could be
duplicated and transmitted, and there is no reliable way to take
control over that processes. There are several solutions from
different companies that were developed to prevent unauthorized
distribution of the electronic documents."
In their talk, "the most attention will be paid to documents in PDF
format," they say.