5th September 2008 meeting report


Here is a taste of some of the sort of things we chatted about this month - our version of the Chatham House Rule applies, so nobody is directly identified, in order to promote open communication, even on controversial, sensitive or potentially illegal topics.

This is not a substitute for coming along to the meetings in person: - remember that everyone is welcome, no matter your age or experience or skills (or lack of them), from both sides of the legal fence.

  • Gary McKinnon - the European Court of Human Rights decided not to bother looking at the human rights aspects of his extradition case. There was a demonstration in front of the Home Office, and various last minute writing of letters to MPs etc., but it looks as if Gary will be sent to the USA any day soon.

    Gary's case proves that zer0 dayz exploit technical skill has never been the main requirement to be a "hacker" - you also need luck and persistence.

    Will any of the dozens of US Military officers or bureaucrats or civilian defence contractors responsible for the utter lack of security, which lasted for years on end, be named and shamed and shown to be incompetent or corrupt in the forthcoming trial ?

  • Draft regulations implementing the (delayed by 18 months) European Commission Directive on mandatory Data Retention. Telecomms (landline and mobile) came into force in October 2007, "internet connection, internet e-mail and internet telephony" due in March 2009. What do these vague legal terms actually mean in practice regarding log files, ports etc ?

    Interestingly, despite the media hype, there do not seem to be any proposals for retaining any web URLS or cookies or DNS access records etc. under this EC Data Retention law.

    See low number of active Tor Exit nodes in the UK compared with other countries. Please set up one yourself:


    but bear in mind the bandwidth requirements - does your "unlimited" ADSL broadband package allow to transfer tens or hundreds of Gigabytes a month ?

  • Nokia Siemens snooping and surveillance consolidation software - see Snoop software makes surveillance a cinch - how many false positives and false negatives ?

  • "Educate" them whilst they are young - phun with unix based Chumby "toys" e.g. a Chumby Wifi Sniffer

  • Giving things away for free usually draws a crowd:


    Interesting free stuff or junk ?


    This AMD / Intel and Zilog chipped card caused some puzzlement:


    Some sort of S3 video card ?


  • Risks of fingerprint scanners at airports etc - biohazards - how do you sterilise high volume scanners being potentially contaminated with pathogens etc from around the world, without causing massive queues ? The Heathrow Terminal 5 fingerprint scanning machines seem to have Firewire access - therefore no effective security, apart from a cheap cabinet lock (The Reverend Rat probably already has the keys !)

  • The joys of dual boot Win98 SE and Linux SUSE version 10 - is Ubuntu easier for a beginner ?

  • The Yorkshire Ranter's proposal for open source framework tools to help activist groups - see Organise, and a very wet 2600, The detailed Organise proposal is available online via Google Documents

  • The BBC are researching a TV programme about privacy, e.g. exactly what a private investigator might be able to gather about a target, using social engineering and hacking techniques.

  • A new (US market ? "big budget" tv series is in development, looking to pit teams of "hackers" against each other . Will this be like the sophisticated DefCon Las Vegas conference style style professional "capture the flag" (sometimes using non-computer methods to achieve the object of the contest) or the more young teenager gamer / gadget quiz style presented by Jason Bradbury from The Gadget Show, who developed a series in 2001 called Mercenaries, which had a "hacking" segment in each show.. Happy memories of meeting Angelina Jolie at the London after filming party of the Hollywood film Hackers back in 1995.

  • Advice on how to structure a Freedom of Information Act request to Ofcom, about what appears to be licence free radio equipment which could actually interfere with other regulated equipment. See recent Spy Blog UK FOIA requests for some effective wording regarding potential costs and exemptions etc.to use in your own FOIA requests. Also look the the new, WhatDoTheyKnow.com FOIA request submission and tracking website, developed by the MySociety.org people.,

  • Rumours of a former Warsaw Pact country's atomic energy research authority placing their intranet backups in a world readable directory.

  • Why do British Telecom roadside street cabinets seem to be broken into less frequently than Virgin Media (Cable West) ones ? Better locks, better alarms ?

  • <!-- email us some rumours/reports to insert here -->

  • Thanks to the people who spot mistakes in this report - how about contributing your own observations, either by email or in the Comments below ?

  • About this blog

    London 2600 meetings are similar to those held by 2600 groups around the world, and the other 2600 groups in the United Kingdom.

    N.B. the quarterly 2600 magazine is now rarely available in London shops.

    Everybody who is interested in computer and telecomms security and the impact of technology on society is welcome, from both sides of the fence, no matter what your age or level of skill and experience - nobody knows it all, no matter what they claim.

    You could learn more at these free meetings than from months of study or investigation on your own, but this depends on what you are willing to share and contribute in return. We are mostly British and therefore somewhat shy in public, but it is easy to strike up a conversation with most of us.

    London 2600 meet on the first Friday of each month, 6.30pm to 7.30pm initially, at the frront entrance of the Trocadero shopping centre, then on elsewhere.

    The kinds of people who have attended over the last 25 years or so include:

    "computer hackers, phone phreakers, cyberpunks, performance artists, systems administrators, cybergoths, military intelligence officers, mobi chippers, skip trashers, hacktivists, network gurus, anti-virus programmers, penetration testers, multimedia artists, internet entrepreneurs, newbies, cybercriminals, warez d00dz, old skool, movie script writers, 31337, civil liberties activists, lawyers, radio hams, students, cool hunters, wannabes, djs, corporate security professionals, academic researchers, privacy campaigners, journalists"

    Usually up to 20 to 50 people attend each meeting, most of whom then participate in the rest of the evening/weekend activities.

    Email Contacts

    email: meetings@london2600[dot]org[dot]uk

    For the paranoid crypto-ninjas amongst you (like us !) here is our PGP public encryption key

    For encrypted web based email (which you can access via the Tor anonymity cloud), outside the direct jurisdiction of the UK Government, get a free Hushmail or Protonmail etc. account and contact us on london2600@hushmail[dot]com

    (Obviously many of you will use Google Gmail, which is well secured nowadays, but not very anonymous, especially if you are logged in to your Google accounts or Android Apps)

    London 2600 Email List

    There is a revived London 2600 email discussion list - be polite please.

    This is a public email list, so you should obviously take any appropriate communications data anonymity and other privacy precautions.

    @London_2600 Twitter feed

    Follow the Twitter feed: @London_2600 for last minute meeting venue change announcements etc.

    Google Calendar

    Google Calendar reminder button image NOT served and logged by Google

    If you have taken the usual security and privacy precautions e.g. private browsing mode, strict cookie and history deletion policies etc. in your web browser, you may feel that you can trust Google Calendar to remind you about the next London 2600 meeting, and other events of interest.

    Geekery.in Calendar

    Geekery.in is a calendar of UK meetings and events, including 2600 meetings, Linux User Groups, HackSpaces etc.

    (The) Hacker(s) Voice Radio / Magazine / TV


    Hacker Voice Radio

    "HVR is an online radio show set up as an vocal forum for all the UK hackers and phreaks to come together, work together and a place to share information."

    (The) Hacker(s) Voice people have expanded into producing a (.pdf) and printed Magazine, called The Hacker Voice Digest, and have plans for Video as well as their internet radio streams and podcasts etc.

    Campaign Buttons

    Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
    Free Gary McKinnon, who lives in London, is accused of hacking in to over 90 US military computer systems, and is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

    Watching Them, Watching Us, UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
    UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

    NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
    NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database. 0800 789 321 free, confidential, Anti-Terrorist Hotline (use 999 or 112 to report immediate threats)
    Anti-terrorism hotline 0800 789 321 free and confidential - use 999 or 112 to report immediate threats.

    Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond

    Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

    Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
    Data Retention is No Solution Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

    Open Rights Group
    Open Rights Group

    Tor - the onion routing network
    Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

    Amnesty International 's irrepressible.info campaign

    BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

    NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

    Wikileaks.org - the controversial "uncensorable, anonymous whistleblowing" website based currently in Sweden.

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    Electro Magnetic Field

    As yet unconfirmed plans for a Dutch / German style hacker camp / Temporary Autonomous Zone next August Bank Holiday i.e. 27th August 2012

    "EMF camp" ("Electro Magnetic Field" ?) is promised to have an internet domain name and discussion list etc. by next month.

    Anybody interested in helping to organise this can contact emf@london2600.org.uk for now.

    London 2600 People's Blog Links

    Here are some of the blogs by London 2600 people:

    Spy Blog - Privacy and Civil Liberties commentary and campaigns

    Rat's Blog - The Reverend Rat comments on London street life and technology

    Dr. K's blog - Hacker, Author, Musician, Philosopher. Author of "Hackers' Tales", which drew partly on interviews with London 2600 attendees.

    gizmonaut.net blog - David Mery

    Silver AJ - fashion model and gender hacker.

    Veghead's Bologs

    Other Links

    2600uk.com - "Hacking and Phreaking in the UK. Old school ethics, New school tech."

    Need To Know (historical)

    El Reg - The Register

    Other 2600 meeting links

    Other 2600 meetings in the UK and elsewhere

    Egypt 2600 - just like London 2600, but in Egypt

    2600 Tor Server Project


    Obviously if you incorporate the campaign button code above onto your website, without alteration, then we will have access to some of your Communications Traffic Data, and so will anyone who is snooping on us.

    Campaign Links

    Free Gary McKinnon - or at least try him in the UK, rather than extraditing him to the USA. Gary is accused of hacking in to over 90 US Military computer systems, including some in the Pentagon, National Security Agency, Army, Navy and Air Force, NASA, etc. for over 2 years. He is facing extradition to the USA, under the notorious Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence, rather than being tried in the UK. He could face a Guantanamo Bay style Military Tribunal and over 60 years in prison ! This case has dragged on now for over 9 years !

    Free Babar Ahmad - another British (Muslim) IT worker from London, also facing extradition to the USA, also at risk of a Military Tribunal, facing terrorism charges not for running websites etc., relating to activities in Afghanistan and Chechnya, which were not illegal in the UK.

    Not Getting Arrested in London

    Now that the UK Government has enacted the draconian email and phone snooping RIP Act, widened the Terrorism Act 2000 and the Terrorism Act 2006 to suppress politically motivated computer hackers, and promoted mass technological surveillance of millions of innocent citizens, you have to *trust* the current Home Secretary John "not fit for purpose" Reid that your email is not being routinely monitored, and your mobile phone traffic data and location records are not being fed into some cruel automatic traffic pattern analysis program so as to add points to your electronic secret police dossier, through guilt by association.

    Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers mini-blog gives advice which is also relevant to London 2600 attendees, from both sides of the law, and the media.

    Several people on their way to London 2600 meetings have fallen foul of the anti-terrorism hysteria which swept London after the terrorist bomb attacks of July 2005. You cannot really blame the general public and Police for being suspicious, if you bring along a mysterious looking bit of electronic equipment in your rucksack, with lots of wires, batteries and gaffer tape, no matter how innocent it really is.

    However, none of us should tolerate Police behaviour and policies like those which resulted the arrest of David Mery, one of our respected long standing attendees. He was stopped, searched and arrested on a Tube station, and his flat was searched and computers and other equipment seized, for no good reason at all. He was lucky that he was not shot and killed by the Police. See Innocent in London" and "Techie and terrorist behavioural profiles are the same"


    If you are arrested, then get some legal advice from a firm of solicitors before you say or admit to anyhing whatsoever to the Police e.g. top rated human rights specialists Bindmans & Partners - 020 7833 4433 or Kaim Todner (who represent London hacker Gary McKinnon) - 020 7353 6660 (24 hour Police Station callout)

    London CyberPunk Tourist Guide

    This London CyberPunk tourist guide should be of interest to London 2600 people, from home and abroad.