[tor-reports] Trip Report for SECURE Poland 2013
andrew at torproject.is
andrew at torproject.is
Thu Oct 17 02:29:24 UTC 2013
# Trip Report for SECURE Poland 2013
I was invited to speak at [SECURE Poland 2013](http://www.secure.edu.pl/)
about "Tor, Surveillance, and You". My presentation
are available. Video of my talk will be available when the video team
at SECURE process all of the videos.
The Speaker's Dinner before the event was great. It was held at [Dawne
Smaki](http://www.dawnesmaki.pl/) in a quiet side room. We had great
conversations about the state of Internet security (or insecurity),
Tor, intelligence gathering capabilities of various Eastern European
countries, and how botnets were being exploited for fun and profit. When
I got back to the hotel, I found the disk controller in my laptop was
corrupt/dying. It corrupted my filesystem and encrypted LVM setup to
the point of non-recovery. And my backups were 6500 km away. I ended up
just using Tails the entire trip. Even with the dying disk controller,
Tails worked well off a USB stick. I jokingly blamed the NSA for the
timely failure, but realistically, the laptop is a few years old and has
been around the world a few times and is probably just wearing out. I
recreated my presentation and moved on.
The actual conference was hosted at the great [Centrum Nauki
Kopernik](http://www.kopernik.org.pl/). The Centrum is both an active
science museum and conference center intertwined in various ways. I
talked to a few vendors, such as Cisco, Fortinet, and Blue Coat. None
seemed aware of Tor nor what we did, or at least weren't going to admit
it. The conference started off with one big room and a few talks about
general security, general "situational awareness" of your network, and
what China is doing on the Internet these days. After lunch, the big room
was split into three tracks, two in Polish, one in English (mostly). I
met some people from a Ministry (their badges were in Polish) interested
in learning more about the criminal element of the Internet and alternate
Internets. I talked to a few people from Belarus. They assured me the
situation there isn't as dire as the news media reports, but they could
use some help with avoiding surveillance.
The room filled up with people for my talk. I did not expect this. I
tried to keep the presentation quick to allow for more questions at the
end. And questions there were. I completely fumbled a question about
"how will tor stop botnets in the future?" However, the rest of the Q&A
seemed to go pretty well. The moderator stopped questions after a
bit. They presented me with a Polish-made black fedora as a speaking
gift. And then we all went to break.
Afterwards, people kept coming up to me asking what it was like to be
targeted by the NSA (the answer is, no different than before, now we
just have confirmation), how can they run an exit relay or 20 (told them
about the blog posts and guidance for exit relay opers), have we thought
about hiring a botnet to run exit relays (no, and we don't want to),
and does the average american care about what the NSA is doing (i said
probably not, yet).
Overall, it was a quick trip, only 48 hours in the country, all in
Warsaw. However, it was great and I'd love to go back.
A huge thank you to PJ and Piotr for their organization and taking
care of the speakers for the entire conference. A big thanks to
[NASK](http://www.nask.pl/) and [CERT Poland](https://www.cert.pl/)
for making it all happen.
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