Flying from California to Las Vegas is always an adventure. I saw people so excited about get drunk, be wild and enjoy Vegas as much as their wishes. For me, Vegas was a challenge, I had to present my research about one of the most powerful companies around the world. That feeling walked all around my head every minute.
The first obstacle was to pass the security in the airport with all my hardware. I knew that if one piece of my tools was going to be retained, I will not have a chance to recreate my projects, consequently, I will not be able to have a full support. But I was prepared, my research was polished, my enthusiasm was high. I disassembled each part, taking away lipos, micro-circuits, computers and fears. I chose one of the airports were I thought the security was going to be more “nice” however, more than one hour interrogating me about my tools; it was tiring. But I expected that so I arrived early that day to be able to pass this scrutiny; one guy knew about the conferences. So I grabbed him strongly, he was going to be the person who saved my ass, even when he did not know that yet. After I made up a few stories, the agent released my baggage, and I was ready to leave.
Without bad expectations, I arrived Vegas on July 29th. I had to feel the Conference since the first day.
On July 30th, I went for my badge, registration was the priority. They needed to know that I was there. Black Hat tried to intimidate me, but I was so ready more than I thought. I walked every space in the Mandalay Bay. Not just the conferences rooms. I checked couple times that designed room for my talk, day, time and probabilities. It was going to be too early for a full room, 9 am on Aug 4th. So I knew that I will have to be clear and direct as much as I could for those few people that will show up.
I checked my demos more than ten times. Something was wrong, I needed something fresh, something from Vegas. That was when I decided to record a video in the city. In the middle of the people. Just because I could. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytV7xNJP1o8) I knew that Samsung was already working in its official statements, however I expected that Samsung will send more Samsung Pay programming side people than planing or management individuals to my presentation. The people that I expected never arrived. Instead I had to talk with people that knew everything about everything. So since the first meeting, I put myself in idle mode. If they knew everything why they are here? oh yes, to tried to find weaknesses in my research to use them against it without addressing the main flaw. But they did not know that I expected all of that.
Moreover, I had the opportunity to met one of my favorite reversing engineers, Erez Metula, amazing person, so professional. He wished me good luck which I will need it during the next days.
Overall, Black Hat USA 2016 was one of the most amazing experiences to be focus, prepared and ready to affront complex challenges. One day, I expect to come back, and I will hit harder.