Tobias Mueller

Volunteer hacker GNOME


Tobias is a German Free Software advocate, former member of the GNOME Foundation’s Board of Directors, and active hacker in the German (Hamburg, to be exact) Chaos Computer Club. He acquired a Masters degree in Security and Forensic computing from Dublin, is now working for Huawei’s Applied Cryptography team, and loves to build and break stuff.

Functionality, Security, Usability: Choose any two. Or GNOME.

How GNOME pushes the envelope to provide a safe computing environment

GNOME is a desktop that cares about its users and their freedom. To be free also includes to have the freedom to use your computer without having to fear of getting compromised or anyone listening to your communication. This talk shows how GNOME takes tries hard to put the user back into the control seat regarding security and privacy.

GNOME 3.22 has been released in September. With that release, many visible improvements will be delivered to users around the world. While many people already excitedly use the new GNOME 3 user experience, some features of the desktop like the integration of containerisation or management of privacy related data are not yet wildly known.

In this talk, you will see examples of how GNOME tries to give you back control over your computing. Firstly, we have Flatpak, the containerisation of desktop apps. With Flatpak, users can sandbox their applications while still having them integrated into their desktop, e.g. have them started like native apps, have them print documents, or open and save files. This level of integration make it arguably more complex than, say, using Docker or rkt to run your applications. Secondly, GNOME tries to address the problem of signing OpenPGP keys. Currently, that is a tedious process with many things that can (and will) go wrong. Finally, a prototypical protection against malicious USB devices is shown. Do you know when you use your USB? And when you don’t? And, more importantly, when someone uses your USB? We present an approach which may be well suited for preventing abuse of your computing.

First, this talk will introduce to some of the design philosophies inherent in GNOME 3 as well as the main changes brought to users and developers. Also, since GNOME 3.20 is another step of a long lasting incrementally improved user experience, the future of GNOME’s development will be speculated on.

The keysigning problem helps to strengthen the Web of Trust which is the decentralised PKI in the OpenPGP world.
It depends on people participating by signing other people’s keys.
However, when following best practises, the act of signing a key involves secure transfer of the OpenPGP key which contemporary casual key signing protocols for small groups address by exchanging the fingerprint of the key to be signed.
The key will then be downloaded over an untrusted channel and the key obtained needs to be manually verified.

We will see a novel approach to signing keys which makes it easy to sign a person’s key.
It enables very small groups of people to casually hold very small key signing parties.
The key idea is to automatically authenticate the key material
before the transfer via a secure audible or visual channel.
A Free Software implementation of the protocol will be shown and people are invited to sign their keys ūüôā

USB is ubiquitously used to connect peripheral (or not so peripheral) devices with a host. The attacks on operating systems and applications are growing and we will see a way to thwart many attacks without compromising on usability. This serves as a good example of how to draw the line between functionality, usability, and security for a security mechanism that is intended to be massively deployed.

Are you the next cyber security superstar?

If you are passionate about an information security topic or you have strong technical skills developing researches on your own, you should definitely Apply at Call for Papers. By submitting you will have the chance to showcase your work to +2000 attendees.

Other speakers joining this year

Cristian Sandu

Blockchain Developer Cegeka Romania

Daniel Barbu

Lead, Information Security Engineer Adobe

Yehia Mamdouh ElGhaly

Penetration Tester DTS-Solution

Ready for this year's presentations?

By registering you will unlock access to 60+ speakers and two full days with cyber security news & showcases from worldwide leaders.


Sponsors & Partners

They help us make this conference possible.


Orange Romania is part of the Orange Group, one of the largest global telecommunications operators that connects hundreds of millions of customers worldwide. With over 11 million local customers and an annual turnover exceeding 1.5 billion euros, Orange Romania connects 1 in 2 Romanians and offers an extensive range of communication solutions for both individual and corporate customers, from basic connectivity services to complete mobile, fixed internet, TV packages, and complex IT&C solutions through Orange Business. 

Orange Romania is the number 1 operator in terms of network performance, and also holds nine consecutive Top Employer certifications, which confirm that Orange Romania, in addition to the remarkable products and services it offers, pays special attention to its employees and working environment. In the past 3 years Orange has launched two 5G Labs in Bucharest and Iasi, that aim to support researchers, startups and companies to test their 5G solutions in advance. 

In addition, Orange is a long-term supporter of the startup ecosystem through the Orange Fab accelerator program designed to support entrepreneurs in the development of innovative products and their distribution locally and internationally.

Gold Partners

defcamp 2022 booking holdings

Silver Partners

Bronze Partner