Blogs & Stories

SpiderLabs Blog

Attracting more than a half-million annual readers, this is the security community's go-to destination for technical breakdowns of the latest threats, critical vulnerability disclosures and cutting-edge research.

Top Ten Survival Tips for the Dehydrated N00b Zombie Apocalypse at Security Week 2013

Just look at the face: it's vacant, with a hint of sadness.Like a drunk who's lost a bet.
—Dianne describing a zombie in the movie "Shaun of the Dead"

It's coming. In just two weeks security pros, crackers,hackers and other interested parties will swarm Las Vegas to learn, share andlet off some steam.

We feel it's our duty to warn the uninitiated andinexperienced. As a public service, your friends at SpiderLabs offer thefollowing tips to help you avoid the Dehydrated N00b Zombie Virus (DNZV) towhich some poor souls succumb each year at Black Hat USA, DEF CON, DEF CONSkytalks and BSides Las Vegas. You'll read tips similar to last year's, butthey're still relevant reminders to help ensure an unscathed departure onSunday.

SpiderLabs' Top Ten Dehydrated N00b Zombie ApocalypseSurvival Tips:

Night of the living dead public domain web10. Bathe and apply deodorant—Your natural, organic odor canattract the infected. We strongly recommend that you shower and apply deodorantat least once a day to mask your scent.

9. Drink water—The infected prey upon the dehydrated. It'simportant to socialize with other attendees and plan for zombie contingencies,but temper the booze and the heat by hydrating and pacing yourself.

8. Wear light-weight clothing (but bring along a hoodie orsweater)—The conferences will be air conditioned. Should the undead ambush theconference floor, however, escaping to the 100+ degree temperatures of the LasVegas desert may be your only option. Even with your adrenaline pumping,exerting yourself in the hot weather can dehydrate you or give you heat stroke.

7. Plot your course—Some talks will only have standing roomavailable or will reach capacity by the time you get there. You'll want to plotyour course through the con carefully, allow time for navigating any zombiefeeding frenzies and arrive early if possible. Pick your priority talks andsome back-ups in case.

6. Secure an invitation to Spiders Are Fun!—If you know someonein SpiderLabs, contact them and try to secure an invite to our annual SpidersAre Fun! party. You may need respite from battling the re-animated and theSpiders Are Fun! party will be a protected bunker filled to the brim withexperienced allies (but reference tip five below).

5. Keep your wits about you when attending meetings, partiesor other gatherings with SpiderLabs personnel—Various common, and usuallyinnocent, activities can lead to unplanned outcomes (such as finding yourselfon the floor incapacitated and unable to flee the coming hordes). A wide andcreative range of schemes have been concocted by both the undead and theirproxies to snare the unsuspecting (we speak from experience).

4. Heed the orders of the Goons—We've said it before andwill say it again: do as they say, and you may just find your way out of DEFCON 21 alive.

3. Visit the Las Vegas Zombie Apocalypse Store—While weconsider ourselves experts on the DNZV, staff at the Las Vegas ZombieApocalypse Store possess knowledge of a number of other virus strains and canprovide relevant advice and supplies.

2. Do not use insecure protocols on any of your connecteddevices—Dehydrated N00b Zombies typically begin communicating using insecurechannels and authentications that lack proper complexity. You may noticeusernames such as "GNnnaaaAAAhh" and passwords like "bRaiNs!******" fillingup the Wall of Sheep. Your non-zombie username and password could drawattention to yourself. Not to mention the more covert sniffing of traffic thatmay occur. A safe bet is to avoid sending any sort of information via anyInternet-enabled device that you wouldn't just as soon announce to the entireconference audience using a megaphone.

1. Do not hand your phone over to anyone—The early stages ofthe DNZV taking hold include the typical symptoms of dehydration (dry mouth,lethargy, low or no or dark yellow urine). There will be plenty of uninfectedindividuals displaying similar symptoms—you can never be sure. Play it safe anddon't let anyone use your phone. There's no telling what your phone maytransmit to you or others.

We'd like this post and its comments to serve as acompendium of Dehydrated N00b Zombie Apocalypse survival tips, so help supportthe community effort by adding your own tips below.