Def Con 20 an example of ethical hacking in action

Look out Las Vegas, Def Con is coming.

One of the world’s largest annual computer hacking conventions, the event will see technophiles from across the globe gathering in the city of sin to discuss issues such as unique research, new cyber security tool releases and cybercrime.

Founded in 1993 by The Dark Tangent (known in the offline world as Jeff Moss), Def Con not only allows computer hacking – it encourages it.

In many ways the event will be an example of ethical hacking in action, with a range of competitions scheduled to pit top computer experts against one another in a battle of knowledge and cunning.

While any physical violence of any kind is disallowed, competitors are encouraged to work outside the rules in order to gain an advantage.

Of course with so many computer hackers in one place, vulnerability management is essential to ensuring a comfortable environment for guests.

“Now that we’ve perfected the art of a stable hacker con network, we’re ascending to a higher level – we’re providing you a network that you feel SAFE in using!” reads the official Def Con FAQ.

“Since DEF CON 18 we’re WPA2 encrypted over-the-air, with a direct trunk out to the Internet.”

Nonetheless, the unofficial Def Con FAQ recommends avoiding the ATM facilities, as to use them would be “asking for something to get stolen”.

Dozens of presentations are planned for the event, including one from VIP guest and director of the national security agency General Keith Alexander entitled Shared Values, Shared Responsibilities.

Of course it’s not all business, the organisers have also released an entertainment schedule, with artists such as Saint VII, Sigma Starr, SailorGloom and The Crystal Method all set to perform.

Def Con is scheduled to run from July 26 to 29. Tickets are $200 (cash only at the door) and the organisers are hoping to top last year’s attendance figures of around 11,500.

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