Media Coverage

ABS-CBN #NoFilter follows the life of Hightail, a professional hacker who attempts to penetrate a system to identify its security vulnerabilities before they get exploited by criminals. The program witnesses this year's ROOTCON Hacking Conference, a gathering for the growing hacking community in the Philippines. ROOTCON founder Dax Labrador then details how the conference has escalated its significance in the advent of cyberattacks among companies. Lastly, Hightail details how his work affects his personal life, to the extent of keeping secrets from his relatives about the details of his job.

#TechSabado September 16, Radyo 5
Meet the Hackers, (ABS-CBN Patrol ng Pilipino (October 02, 2012)
Pinoy shows Facebook hacking skills, (ABS-CBN Bandila) (September 18, 2012)
Pinoy Hackers We're Good Guys, (ABS-CBN Bandila) (September 7, 2012)

Online Articles

Ethical hackers expected to help address Philippine cybersecurity gaps

WHITE hats or ethical hackers can help create a digitally secure Philippines as their skills can address the country’s cybersecurity gaps, according to the convenors of ROOTCON, an annual hacking conference.
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Gov’t urges 'hackers ng bayan' to help shore up PH cybersecurity

MANILA, Philippines – Privacy commissioner Raymund Liboro urged Filipino white hat hackers to help the government improve the Philippines’ national cybersecurity capabilities at a hacking conference called Rootcon 12 held in Tagaytay City on Thursday, September 27.

White hat hackers are ethical cybersecurity experts that do digital security testing and do not perform malicious operations like black hat hackers do.

The collaboration with the hackers, whom Liboro endearingly called "hackers ng bayan," will encompass multiple government information and communications technology (ICT) projects, but will start with the national ID initiative, Philippine Identification System (PhilSys).
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Adobo Tech at ROOTCON

RootCon Hacking conference is for white hat hackers to share knowledge and enjoy each other’s company by testing skills and trying to outwit each other during the games and outdrink each other at the parties
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MB TechNews columnist goes to RootCon 11

RootCon is the hot spot to learn more about cyber security and the rising threats in the online world.

Manila Bulletin TechNews columnist, Wilson Chua, will be attending RootCon 11 this week to talk about the using free machine learning tools like R for security scenarios.

“More specifically,” Chua said, “I will share how we can identify malware infected PCs using R code and detect DGA (Domain Generating Algorithms) DNS requests. R is a reusable code that can process a lot of input formats, then export the analysis in multiple formats as well. It is like script kiddies’ toolbox for the security professional. You can use the R scripts as is without need to be in expert mode.”
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World class hacker Jayson Street heads to ROOTCON 11

World-renowned hacker and National Geographic’s “Breakthrough” series personality, Jayson Street is headlining ROOTCON 11, an annual hacker conference participated in by local and international hackers, and the country’s biggest local and global technology companies.

“We are excited to have Jayson Street as one of our resource speakers for Rootcon 11. Jayson is a well-respected member of the international hacking community and is considered a hero among local hackers. His work throughout his brilliant career, which you can see examples of in his National Geographic episodes on cybersecurity, has brought the issues of cybersecurity and cyber-terrorism to the mainstream,” said Dax Labrador, ROOTCON founder and professional hacker.
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Things I learned at RootCon 2016

How did the Duter Team (representing the Philippines) win the “Capture the Packet” at the US DEFCON24 competition against teams like Squirttle Squad, Friday Bird, SEC DSM, RFC 3514, Laser Unicorn, Slipnyx77, Digrev, ATL, AOL Junkies and IP Often? Given that the other teams were far better equipped/financed while Duter Team’s resources were much meager? Visualize David versus Goliath and you get the idea.

The win was the culmination of a five year effort where the first four years built up enough experience for the major win on the fifth year. While they lost in each of the past four years, their participation gave them valuable insights which included:
• Using higher powered notebooks in the competition with SSDs as well.
• Optimization matters – Wireshark processing was too slow otherwise.
• Split up the capture from the analysis part.
• Pre-filter the captured packets into separate streams (by ftp, by voip, by http etc)
• Study esoteric protocols like SCADA, OSPF, VPN, Applettalk, IPX/SPX and Multipath TCP
• Practical stuff like having pen and paper to make quick notes, a timer to monitor the time remaining.
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Patrol ng Pilipino: Hackers: Friends, or foes?

By Ana Lea Macdon, (ABS-CBN News) (Monday, October 01, 2012)
“Hackers are not bad people,” said hackers at ROOTCON, the annual hacker conference and information security gathering held last September 7 to 8.
For the first time, they invited the media to the event to specifically change the public's perception of hackers.
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Pinoy hackers strangely silent on new law punishing hacking

By T.J. Dimacali, (GMA News) (Friday, September 20, 2012)
Despite their brazen defacements of government websites in the name of website security and netizens' rights, the Filipino hacker community has been strangely silent over the biggest issue yet confronted by online Pinoys: the newly-enacted Cybercrime Prevention Act.
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Hackers show skills in Philippine conference

By Chiara Zambrano, (ABS-CBN News) (Friday, September 7, 2012)
MANILA, Philippines - About 180 hackers from all over the Philippines and from other countries are gathered in Cebu City for the ROOTCON gathering. Their message: they are not afraid to show their faces, because hackers are not evil. "Hacking," they explain, is not synonymous to an illegal act.
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Credit card users told: Be Wary

By Ryan Christopher J. Sorote /FPL (The Freeman) (Sunday, March 04, 2012)
CEBU, Philippines - An IT expert who hosts a yearly hacking conference yesterday warned credit card users to be more cautious following the arrest of a credit card hacker early this week.

Dax Labrador, founder of the yearly hacking convention called ROOTCON, said that credit card hacking exists since 1990. Labrador said it is an easy undertaking given the right equipment and skills. In fact, Labrador said “any IT graduate” is capable of hacking.
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Sunstar: Hackers meet, share knowledge

By Mia A. Aznar (SunStar) (Wednesday, September 14, 2011)
COMPUTER protection companies may have painted a bad picture of hackers, but local hackers hope to change the public’s perception of them.
Dax Labrador, founding director of the Root Convention held in Cebu over the weekend, said not all hackers are “bad guys.”
Because hacking seems to have a negative connotation in the Philippines, Labrador and his group hope to encourage local hackers to use their knowledge and abilities to do good.
He said holding regular national conferences for hackers like the RootCon serves as a venue for them to gather, share what they know and learn from one another.
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The Freeman: Cyberterrorism: Is Phil ready?

By Maria Eleanor E. Valeros (The Freeman) (Sunday, September 11, 2011)
It was ironic, however, that the banking and finance sector being one of the most susceptible industries had only one representative of the 150 participants in the two-day hackers confab organized by Rootcon, an online community of security enthusiasts headed by Mr. Dax Labrador (aka Semprix), founding director, and Ederlindo Cojuangco II, co-founder. Prior to the event, Cojuangco made mention that the event seeks to encourage more people to secure their own network from the prying eyes in cyberspace. “Know your enemy. Think like one of them. Defend your network,” he said.
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