Discover the legendary DEF CON Conference. For the 26th edition, more than 20’000 gathered last week in Vegas!
With over 24’000+ hackers, DEF CON is probably the world’s largest hacker convention. It gathers people as diverse as computer security pros, journalists, lawyers, feds, and students… who have in common that they rejoice in spending the weekend hacking locks, hardware, and indeed whatever you will give them to hack.
We selected three pictures that, to us, exemplify some of the qualities DEF CON stands for.
DEF CON is a benevolent community. As reminded by Core Team member April Wright, participants should “be excellent to each other”. They should also be mindful of the rest of society.
Ethical hackers (aka white hat hackers) are not only nice with their peers, they work for society in finding and fixing vulnerabilities before the bad guys do. They also educate others: children are also welcome at DEF CON.
The Voting Machine Hacking Village (villages are kinda sub conferences at DEF CON) exemplifies this philosophy. “Hackers” there exposed potential security weaknesses in the machines that will be used in the 2018 US midterm elections… so they can be fixed in time.
Election agencies must be able to make informed decisions about what election equipment will help them conduct secure elections, and independent testing helps both election agencies and vendors.
Nowadays, real-world hacking is mostly (though far from completely) concentrated in the hands of nation states, cyber-criminal enterprises, well-trained (and, as a departure from the old Robin Hoods, well-paid) professionals working for corporations, and a few (and far-between) “hacktivists” (and even these have been somewhat decreasing in recent years). We need to even the score.
DEF CON is full of small contests, having to do with lockpicking, robotics, art, slogan, coffee wars, scavenger hunt and any Capture the Flag you can think of. The flagship DEF CON contest is the DEF CON CTF.
The first purpose of DEF CON CTF is to provide a venue for the true pro hackers to show off their skill, thereby pointing out the top hackers and the most effective techniques (tools, automation, etc.). But just as importantly, it is a spectacle. Participants of DEF CON CTF are selected in May. As such, winning DEF CON CTF finals is as strong a signal of your hacking abilities as it gets.
The second purpose of DEF CON CTF is to be a spectacle, and act as a lens for the entire security community, magnifying the latest vulnerabilities.
Extravagance (aka Vegas)
Defcon 26 took place at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas… and 24’000 people in Casino can… what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!