Malörtware, the mash-up of malware and Malört (Chicago’s gift to the world!), was our team name for Thotcon’s Digerati’s Atlas badge challenge/CTF (created by Sakebomb, Jay, and Rudy). If you recall, last year I participated in the badge challenge and came up just short of winning at the very end. This year, I wanted to bring some friends (new and old) along to help me out. Our team grew to include Ben, Solomon, czerny, noonker, dev oopes, murriel, and myself. We were lucky to have a wide range of skills within the group, and without everyone we would not have been able to win the contest and a coveted Thotcon Gold (Lifetime) Badge!
This was the first (beta) year of DEF CON China, and it took place in the city of Beijing. I was lucky enough to attend and represent the Hardware Hacking Village, along with my long-time friend, Grungy. We didn’t really know what to expect (I don’t think anyone did), but with the help of some of the other HHV members, a month before the event we submitted a list of tools/materials we wanted to have available for attendees (soldering supplies, select tools, and beginner friendly soldering kits).
i’ve been missing out on thotcon the past few years while living in chicago, so i was happy to finally attend for the 9th installment. my goal from the start was to compete in the badge ctf in hopes of winning a coveted gold badge (admission to thotcon for life). i’m sad to say i missed most of the talks, but i had a blast crunching through the puzzles cooked up by sakebomb.
About a month before this year’s DEF CON, I stumbled upon AND!XOR’s DEFCON 24 Bender Badge on hackaday.io. Inspired by their work, and their mention of wanting people to hack their badge, I set out to create an add-on. I ended up making a PCB cigar for Bender, equipped with a microphone and preamp. I wrote new firmware to repurpose the badge as a spectrum analyzer (20-20kHz) in order to have the badge react to music and speech. It was an exciting journey that included reversing the size of the badge from pictures, finishing proving out of the concept after hardware was set to fab, and creating my hack without having the badge to test on.
I thought the idea of a playable vinyl record badge was awesome, but I wanted to make my badge flashier by adding some extra functionality to it. I had brought a box of extra parts with me, and I decided it’d be cool to add some LEDs around the outside (what’s flashier than flashing LEDs?). As I started to do this, I realized what I was making resembled an analog clock, and it just so happened that I had 12 LEDs with me (one for each hour/5 minute marker).