This year, for the first time, I attended the security convention and hacker party time that is DEFCON.
I had heard a lot of things about DEFCON, but it far exceeded my expectations. The convention is so full of things to do that most of the time I was not even aware of them all. Atendees are, mostly, intelligent, approachable, and respectful.
On Thursday, within 10 minutes of setting up an account for the secure wireless (by using the inscure wireless), my Blackberry Z10 went nuts. I took a device that didn’t have any data on it on purpose so that I could be reckless like this. I was impressed by the speed and violence of the attack. I could not turn my phone off properly (it just kept vibrating and making noises) and had to remove the battery. Booting in airplane mode was fine, but the moment I connected to the WiFi again the attack continued. Creating an actually secure account using a friend’s 3G allowed me to actually use my phone for the rest of the convention. Overall, it was an awesome experience.
I saw talks about quadcopters, Dust, ToR, SIM card exploits, physical lock exploits (as well as normal lockpick techniques). I attended workshops on evidence tampering and handcuff shimming. I spent some time trying to decode some of the crypto puzzles that were an integral part of the conference. I met some people.
The reputation DEFCON has for being full of misogyny and therefore having few female attendees is completely overblown. I was actually suprised at the (seemingly) huge number of female attendees, compared to many other tech conferences I have participated in. Hacker Jepordy has a stripping component, and that was the only anti-feminism I saw at the convention. I saw a lot more, but that was Vegas casinos, and not inside the convention space.
The weather was amazing. Hot and dry. The air conditioning way overcompensates, though (my hotel room was set to 19 when I arrived), so take a warm shirt.
Overall I enjoyed myself, and I plan to go back again next year.