A Look Behind the Scenes of DEFCON DarkNet

Ed Abrams (zeroaltitude)

Ed Abrams (zeroaltitude)

Demetrius Comes (cmdc0de)

Demetrius Comes (cmdc0de)

Speaker Bio

Ed Abrams (zeroaltitude) is a software developer and has been involved with the DarkNet for several years.  He is interested in mathematical ciphers and software design and is learning FPGA and embedded programming.


Demetrius Comes (cmdc0de) is a veteran software architect / developer that has a passion for all technology, his work experience spans software security, to embedded development, to video games (mostly online games running at scale).  Current technology addictions include:  Cryptology, IoT, PCB Design, Forensics, embedded software development, and internet scale architectures.



cmdc0de and zeroaltitude will present an overview of the DEFCON DarkNet challenge, currently getting ready for its fifth year.  This presentation will also give an inside look at the DarkNet hardware, software, badges, and quests done over the years.


DEFCON DarkNet has created a Daemon who controls the DarkNet; and players interact with it through the website at dcdark.net . The Daemon keeps track of player quests and their DarkNet inventory.  DarkNet badges, once assembled as a learning quest, act as a valuable tool to identify your role as a player and to help you with certain quests.  Physical puzzle items such as lockpick stations and phonebooths, as well as interactions with DarkNet Operatives, provide further avenues to engage players in their quests and learning experiences.


Cmdc0de and zeroaltitude will be presenting two ciphers at the end of their talk, and discussing a little bit of how they think about ciphers.  They will then invite people to join them in the cipher village after their talk to work on these.


Experiences within the DarkNet will take you to the limit of your existing knowledge… and beyond. If you join us, we will send you on quests to improve your technical abilities. You will meet others like you and you will learn from each other and grow stronger. As you proceed within the DarkNet, you’ll discover hidden messages you would never have noticed and you’ll accomplish goals you never would have achieved alone. To succeed, you have to find your way through the quests and if you make it to the end, you will have proven yourself worthy to join us in our stand against those who seek to control us.


DarkNet’s mission is to secure a safe, independent and self-sustaining community free from intrusion and infiltration by those who would enslave us to their own ends. Our opponents are many and they grow ever more modern — spying on us through our information streams and controlling us through messages that we see wherever we go. We must resist.