SPARKS #3 Event Review – June 2014

Authors: Ionut – Daniel BARBU & Cristian PASCARIU


SPARKS #3 was the third conference in the SPARKS events series. This Security and Hacking meeting took place on June 2, 2014 at TechHub, Bucharest.

Once more, this has proved to be the place to meet members of the security community after work. I am starting to get the feeling that we are already connected so the fact that after the presentations people stay for knowledge sharing sessions is quite normal. This time, the discussions were more intrusive, targeted and honest. The attendants are encouraged to speak their minds. As a consequence the number of questions was higher than the last time and discussions with regards to the subjects were also lucrative. 

SPARKS #3 begun with a deeply technical captivating presentation where Ionut Popescu took us step by step through shellcode development both for Linux and Windows. He marketed the presentation as a 101 course for writing your own code. As usual for this conference, the prerequisites are not so demanding, so even if an attendee was not skilled in shellcode writing, by the end of the presentation he would have gathered a general idea and basic knowledge on this matter. Additionally, the speaker, Penetration Tester for KPMG Romania introduced the audience to assembler programming languages.

Ionut is a former software developer very passionate about security field. His research includes low level aspects of programming. Additionally, his studies include MCTS Windows internal certification. As a “white hat” hacker he is involved in one of the largest Romanian security forums – Romanian Security Team.

Ionut Popescu

The second session of this event was held by Vali – Marius Malinoiu, a security enthusiast with very good presentation skills. Although the contents discussed were not so technical, he won the audience with his speech. Along the 30 minutes, Vali told the story of “A hacker who went fishing”. It is worth underlining that the hacker went fishing, not phishing. What Vali did, was placing a friend’s mobile device as bait somewhere in Bucharest for no reason. Actually, his purpose was to prove a point. He started his presentation by asking what we would do in case of phone loosing. He also was enquiring whether we have a back-up plan.

To be more precise, Vali developed an Android Remote access tool bases on a client server structure. After installing the client on the mobile device and configuring the software, he placed the phone in a public restaurant and left it there. Not surprisingly, the device was taken and the installed software started to do its job. What this means is that every 10 minutes, the device silently takes a photo and sends it to the server. Additionally, it attaches the location. It is worth mentioning that the location is obtained through Google Services and not directly by GPS. As a consequence, the energy consumption is notably low. Furthermore, to reduce the risk of being uninstalled, the software is installed as a default service, making it hard to detect as a running application. Lastly, Vali informed us that for setting everything up, the device must be rooted. His project can be found on GitHub and can prove to be useful in an unfortunate event.

Vali - Marius Malinoiu

As expected, by the end of the presentations, the attendants started sharing ideas and experience so this SPARKS session also finished in a very friendly manner. Already a custom, SPARKS accommodates both security home practitioners and corporate employees. The attendance was free of charge which made it available to a wide variety of technical fellows from university students, IT employees, security specialists to just passionate people. However for administrative purposes, prior registration and confirmation was required. For further details and for future events I strongly recommend the conference’s web page:

In the end of this article I would thank to Andrei Avadanei, the leader of the organizing team. This proves to be recurrent in Bucharest Information Security community. To conclude, I am really looking forward to the next month meeting.

Information and photos:


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