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  • Writer's pictureEric Brown

UFOs, Alien Life and the Least Untruthful Things I Can Say – Richard Thieme Defcon 30 talk

I went into this talk being skeptical of UFOs and what I would call the pseudoscience surrounding them. I’m a pragmatist, and generally agnostic to anything that is difficult to personally experience or bear witness to. That said, prior to 12:30 PDT (time the talk started) if asked, I would have said the existence of UFOs is highly probable. After the talk, I have upgraded my stance to extremely likely. Having not had a first-hand experience or encounter I can’t say 100% sure that UFOs exist…but the talk was very compelling.


It starts with scale. Our solar system (sun + 8 or 9 planets depending on how you classify Pluto) along with 100 thousand million other suns in the Milky Way galaxy.

Our galaxy sits within a supercluster called Laniakea which contains 100,000 galaxies.

Laniakea Supercluster

The red dot in this image is the approximate location of the Milky Way Galaxy.

There are 10 million superclusters in the observable universe.

At this size and scale the numbers become too difficult to comprehend, the takeaway being, that it is unrealistic, unlikely, and pedantic to assume that earth is the only planet with intelligent life.

Whether or not other intelligent life exists in the universe isn’t the question…the question becomes have they visited us.

Richard’s talk covers historic examples and recently unclassified documents that provide evidence that UFOs have visited us numerous times. He references a quote I like by Major General John Samford Chief of Intelligence United States Air Force March 1953.

“Credible people have seen incredible things”.

How does this talk relate to Information Security? In our industry, we are consistently confronted with disinformation, denial, and misdirection that makes our jobs even more difficult than they already are. Illusion, misdirection and ridicule, the hallmarks of operations of deception. The greatest of these is ridicule.

Hackers begin by looking at the data. Defcon is a forum for people to question the status quo, for people that embrace the hacker mentality, and want to look behind the curtain and seek the truth. Richard Thieme embodies that spirit, and having his talk at #homecoming was a perfect fit.

For those interested in other talks that explore topics related to space, one of my favorite Ted talks is Brian Cox’s talk: “Why We Need the Explorers”

-Eric Brown


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