Past Security Presentation for Regular Folk

Posted on April 8, 2022
Tags: infosec, Quadra

Tim Lavoie

Squinting at a map at the pub

tl;dr: Do I know anyone on the list? Am I?

Back in the before (COVID-19) times, our local pub would host weekly talks in the off season. This is known as, “University of Quadra,” and even comes with little diplomas! (Apparently, some people collect these.)

Five years ago, a friend and I did one on the topic of information security, where we each had a different focus. My piece was on basic security awareness, and a few things you could do to try and do a bit better as a layman for yourself.

Rummaging through some files today, I found the presentation files, so took a stab at cleaning them up slightly. I think they held up reasonably well topic-wise, just needed tweaks and regenerating for a current version of Reveal.js since I had not kept the old one.

I had had quite a bit of fun doing the presentation, unfortunately have no video from that night. There were quite a few questions, and the best ones were from the guy I’m sure was the most besotted. I also wanted to ensure there was some local flavour to the talk, where it might highlight just what might happen if the chickens come home to roost. The slides will have to do, but I can try to paint a picture from the night.

The Ashley Madison breach had some about some time before, and included the actual database in the breach data. For those who didn’t catch it at the time, it’s a site for married people looking to hook up with someone other than their spouse. It even seems to still be around, at least the web site is still there today. In any case, the database had all the scurrilous details one might expect in a site meant for sleazing about, and it even had users’ precise location information as well as email addresses and their profile intro.

I decided to select the data for those locations that matched our region, and show some redacted pieces with locations plotted onto a very coarse resolution map. I wasn’t going to risk bringing raw data, or anything that could be zoomed in usefully. After all, it’s not my role to dox anyone that isn’t already. Putting these pics up on the projector definitely had people sitting up straighter, and trying to read what they could.

Redacted text from one table
The map in question

In any case, if you’re interested in the slides themselves, they can now be found [here]. Use cursor keys to navigate pages, pressing ‘?’ gets you on-line help.