If you are in the computer security business or if you are a hacker at heart then there is a good chance that you probably love this time of year. While most of the year you are probably stuck in the house, for several weeks in the summer you are able to go to hacker conferences where you can be around people who are just like you. Yes, this is the season of the hacker conference. Now all you have to do is figure out which ones you want to go to.
The different types of security conferences
You must remember that even though they are billed as either hacker or security conferences, they all have something different about them. Some of the differences may be large while some of the differences may be small but each one has a unique spin to them. It is up to you to do your research and figure out which is the one that you would be most interested in. Hopefully, with this article I can do just that. I am going to go over two of the more popular conferences and you can see if they are the one for you or not. I advise that even after you read this article, you should really do a more thorough search of which ones you would like to go to. While I will mention two in this article there are a lot more, such as BSides, that I will not bring up due to space. There might be several other conferences out there that might fit you as a person better.
The first conference that I will talk about is probably the one that is most popular. While it was not the first hacker conference to exist it is probably the one that you heard of first. It is the conference known as Def Con and for another year running it will probably be the one that is most attended by hackers from around the world.
At an event like this there is so much that you can do that it becomes a little bit overwhelming. While some people think that it is just a bunch of geeks in weird clothes coding all night long, that is far from the truth. There are a lot of different events that happen at Def Con. You will be able to see new movies, hear new music, and go to the many parties that happen during the event. It has become more than just a coding jam, it has become a lifestyle.
The event is not just for coders either. There are a lot of demos of several hardware hacks as well. The hardware hacks that are on display are just as much if not more impressive than the software hacks that you will see. But it is not only electronic hardware that I am talking about either. You will see a lot of lock picking displays as well.
And let’s not forget the main reason why people go to the event. You will see a lot of high powered speakers at the event as well. If you go there thinking that you know a lot about a subject you will be amazed by how much you didn’t when some of these speakers talk. So if you are looking for a loose environment where it is a relaxed atmosphere then you should really try to get to Def Con this year if you can.
Black hat conference
If you are looking for something that is a little more organized than Def Con and the sole purpose of the conference is about protecting the hardware and software back at your job then the Black hat conference is the one that you want to go to. While Def Con is about having fun just as much as it is about learning new hacker tricks, the black hat conference is about taking the threat of outside invaders on your system seriously and what can you do about them. While the black hat conference will also have a lot of talks, you will not see as much of a side show going on. People that go to this conference are about business first and having fun later.
The talks that happen at the black Hat conference are the best in breed. They make sure that the speakers really go into detail as they are explaining a new attack vector or best security policy. Not only do you have to know about the topic that you are talking about, you also have to be able to explain it with clarity to the people in the room.
So as you can see, these are two completely different types of conferences. And there are more out there as well. Pick the one that is right for you and try your best to learn from it.