DEF CON

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DEF CON (also written as DEFCON or Defcon) is one of the world's largest annual hacker conventions, held every year in Las Vegas, Nevada. The first DEF CON took place in June 1993.

Many of the attendees at DEF CON include computer security professionals, journalists, lawyers, federal government employees, crackers, cyber-criminals, security researchers, and hackers with a general interest in computer code, computer architecture, phone phreaking, hardware modification, and anything else that can be "hacked". The event consists of several tracks of speakers about computer- and hacking-related subjects, as well as social events and contests in everything from creating the longest Wi-Fi connection and cracking computer systems to who can most effectively cool a beer in the Nevada heat. Other contests include lockpicking, robotics-related contests (discontinued), art, slogan, coffee wars (not currently running), scavenger hunt and Capture the Flag. Capture the Flag (CTF) is perhaps the best known of these contests. It is a hacking competition where teams of hackers attempt to attack and defend computers and networks. CTF has been emulated at other hacking conferences as well as in academic and military contexts.

Conference founder Jeff Moss contends that the quality of submitted talks has diminished since DEF CON's inception.[1]

Since DEF CON 11, fundraisers have been conducted for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The first fundraiser was a dunk tank and was an "official" event. The EFF now has an event named "The Summit" hosted by the Vegas 2.0 crew that is an open event and fundraiser. DefCon 18 (2010) hosted a new fundraiser called MohawkCon. In 2010, over 10,000 people attended DEF CON 18.

Contents

History

DEF CON was founded in 1992 by Jeff Moss as a farewell party for his friend and fellow hacker. The party was planned for Las Vegas a few days before his friend was to leave the United States, because his father had accepted employment out of the country. However, his friend's father left early, taking his friend along, so Jeff was left alone with the entire party planned. Jeff decided to invite all his hacker friends to go to Las Vegas with him and have the party with them instead. Hacker friends from far and wide got together and laid the foundation for DEF CON, with roughly 100 persons in attendance. The term DEF CON comes from the movie War Games, obviously alluding to the U.S. Armed Forces defense readiness condition (DEFCON). In the movie, Las Vegas was selected as a nuclear target, and since the event was being hosted in Las Vegas, it occurred to Jeff Moss to name the convention DEFCON. However, to a lesser extent, CON also stands for convention and DEF stands for the number 3 on a telephone, a reference to phone phreakers. DEF CON was planned to be a one-time event, a party for his friend, but he kept getting emails from people encouraging him to host again the next year. After a while, he was convinced to host the event again, and the attendance nearly doubled the second year.[2]

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