Surya Mattu is an artist and engineer. He is the data reporter at Gizmodo Media's Special Projects Desk. Previously, he was a contributing researcher at ProPublica where he was working on Machine Bias, a series that aims to highlight how algorithmic systems can be biased and discriminate aginst people. Machine Bias was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Explanatory Journalism. He was also a fellow at Data & Society where he investigated how our wireless devices leak data and the impact that has on us.
The airwaves can be a cacophonous place. Signals from GPS satellites exist alongside bluetooth headsets and the dispatch channels of police stations. The emergence of low-cost Software Defined Radios (SDRs) have made this world more accessible than ever. In this talk we will discuss how to join radio waves with the contextual, public information that helps make sense of them. Not only is it possible to use "Automatic Identification System" broadcasts from container ships to understand exactly what’s inside them, but ADS-B transmissions from aircraft overhead can be cross-referenced with the FAA to understand who owns them and where they’re going. By the end of this talk you will be able to identify the particular broadcast frequency of any McDonald’s drive-through in the country and will learn how to locate suspicious cell phone base stations.
This workshop is ideal for those who are interested in learning how to packet sniff or learn what that even means. We will user Herbivore, an open source tool we have been working on that aims to demistify the world of network packets for the uninitiated. A handful of packet sniffing libraries and desktop applications already exist for analyzing network packets, but they were designed for people who have programming experience or a network engineering background; they were not designed as educational tools for people without technical backgrounds. In this workshop we will go through the basics of what packet sniffing means and let you try it out yourself.
You will need a Mac to run Herbivore :( . But all is not lost! Even if you dont have a Mac you can still learn a whole bunch. We encourage participants to work together and share computers.
The focus is to help participants be able to see how their computers talk to other computers on the internet and the different type of negotiations that take place in the process. If you're looking to 'hack the mainframe' this workshop will probably disappoint you.