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Saumil Shah (Founder, Net-Square)

Presentation Title The Travelling Hacksmith 2009 – 2010
Presentation Abstract


The economic crunch as well as the ash cloud have forced businesses to adopt more “creative” ways of making up their losses. This involves making money off (a) things that were once termed as basic necessities (b) things that were overlooked until some creative bean counter came along (c) trapping customers into terms and conditions written by beasts out of hell.


- An airline is selling blankets for $8 on their flights. What’s next? Pay-per-use airline toilets?
- VOIP is illegal in this country. Why? Because our monopolistic telco will lose money.
- Oh, look, Exit rows have more legroom. Let’s charge the poor sap an extra 100$ for selecting “premium” seats.
- “Refundable” hotel reservations that set their cancellation deadline two months in the PAST. The moment you book your “refundable” reservation, the deadline has expired. Printed in 8 point grey fonts.
- You got a good deal on the hotel reservation? Wait till you see our Internet fees!

Customers have no choice but to grin and bear it. There are a few lucky (and creative) ones where someone hears their tiny voice of reason. (example: “United Breaks Guitars”). And then there are the Traveling Hacksmiths.

What is the point of knowing about security when you can’t use it to fight evil?

THE TALK: This talk is about tricks. Corporations use tricks to outwit customers. Can’t customers use tricks to outwit corporations? Wait. No. That is illegal. Full examples are given. It is all real. No hypothetical stuff. Very few slides, very many demos. Demos feature free Internet, exit row seats, discounted prices and enhanced customer experiences. That is all I will say.

This talk is a closed-doors talk. Eyes and ears only. This talk will NOT be recorded. Slides will NOT be posted online. Requests for soft copies of the presentation will be sent to /dev/null. If you are the corporate type, you may very well be offended.

LEGAL: Your presence in the room implies total acceptance of the Terms and Conditions of this talk. Draft of Terms and Conditions may be obtained at a fee of $7 from the presenter. Your presence in the room also implies that you shall hold the conference organisers, the speakers and anyone else within a 10 metre radius of the room COMPLETELY HARMLESS. These clauses shall perpetually hold and apply, and will persist even after the termination of the talk.

About Saumil Shah

Saumil Shah is a security researcher. He has been speaking and training at many conferences worldwide for over a decade. He has written books, tools and papers. He runs a small security company, Net-Square, for the past 10 years. He likes to travel. He hates being harassed. And he likes to take photographs.