October 22, 2018

5 Things You May Not Know About DEF CON


DEF CON is one of the world’s largest annual hacker conventions, held every year in Las Vegas, since its inception in June 1993. The special sauce to DEF CON is that growth is largely organic and unplanned. As the conference has evolved, DEF CON has adopted the input and great ideas for content and events from many of the attendees and staff.

DEF CON attendees can expect to see computer security professionals, journalists, lawyers, federal government employees, security researchers, and hackers interested in computer architecture, phone phreaking, hardware modification, and anything else that can be “cracked.”

The event consists of several industry speakers, as well as social events and contests, such as creating the longest Wi-Fi connection and cracking computer systems, to who can most effectively cool a beer in Nevada’s summer heat. So many things are happening simultaneously at DEF CON, that even conference founder Jeff Moss, a.k.a. The Dark Tangent, can’t keep up.

A group of UAT student volunteers will return to the conference this year, so we decided to seek out five things that you probably didn’t know about DEF CON.



Luckily, we have a few lesser-known facts from UAT Network Security Professor Russ Rogers, who helps run DEF CON each year.

  1. There are actually only a few full-time employees of DEF CON. The rest of the staff is long time hackers, who provide their time, help, and advice in order to maintain the high quality of the conference.
  2. BEWARE! A DEF CON tradition is the Wall of Sheep, which is a website that shows the usernames, IP addresses, hostnames, and protocol used by people who got their passwords sniffed while using the wireless network.
  3. DEF CON 5 was featured in The X-Files episode “Three of a Kind” featuring an appearance by The Lone Gunmen.
  4. DEF CON holds a Scavenger Hunt competition held every year, to see who can hack their way to get the most odd items within 3 days. READY. SET. HACK!
  5. The DEF CON Black Badge is awarded to elite winners of DEF CON competitions. Those chosen to receive a Black Badge are able to enter DEF CON free of charge for life. The only contest guaranteed to receive a black badge prize, when the conference starts, is Capture the Flag. The other black badge contests are chosen during the conference, based on popularity, cool factor, and participation.

DEF CON 23 runs Aug. 6-9, at Paris and Bally’s in Las Vegas.

Visit UAT’s booth at DEF CON for some awesome swag and to learn more about a degree in Network Security.


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