On Wednesday I leave for DEFCON 17, "the world's largest annual hacker convention" [Wikipedia]. I am meant to learn more about web security there, which is why my employer is paying for my trip and expenses. I'm obviously more excited about being surrounded by hackers and nerds than about the Las Vegas part, although the city ought to be interesting to see.
I will either not bring a laptop, or I will wipe mine before going, for obvious reasons.
Here is a sampling from various FAQs:
Q: Is there a free network at DEFCON?
A: Yes. It would be fair to describe the network as ‘hostile’. It has been described as ‘the worlds most hostile network’, but such descriptions are just attempts at flattery. It is recommended that if you want to connect to the DEFCON network pretend that you are sharing out your entire hard drive to 5,000 hackers. You may want to bring a ‘clean’ computer that you don't mind being infected/hacked/etc. It is considered very poor form to attempt to Dos the network; while the DEFCON staff may not do anything about such attempts it is reasonable to assume that ‘peer justice’ may be meted out. If you're unhappy about the possible risks associated with connecting to DEFCON networks there are a couple of options: refrain from computer use for a few days or connect using another network elsewhere in Vegas (another hotel or something).
Q: What is there to do at DEFCON?
A: DEFCON is a unique experience for each con-goer. If you google around you'll find dozens of write-ups that will give you an idea of what people have experienced at DEFCON. Trust write-ups more than media articles about the con. Some people play capture the flag 24×7, while many people never touch a computer at DEFCON. Some people see every speech they can, while others miss all speeches. Other activities include coffee wars, WI-FI shoot outs, robot contests, TCP/IP contests, movie marathons, scavenger hunts, sleep deprivation, lock picking, warez trading, drunken parties, spot the fed contest, charity dunk tanks, the Black and White Ball. Because DEFCON is what the attendees make of it, there are more events than even we are aware of. Half the fun is learning what happened at DEFCON after the fact!
I'm looking forward to it. Anyone know anyone else who is going?