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 convention 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, but as the friend left earlier, Jeff was left alone with the entire party planned. Thus, Jeff decided to invite his hacker friends to have a party with them instead and from that time on the host this event annually, gathering thousands of computer security professionals, journalists, lawyers, federal government employees, security researchers, and hackers with a general interest in software, 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, the most popular hacking competition where teams of hackers attempt to attack and defend computers and networks using certain software and network structures.
There are numerous independent DEFCON groups all over the world gathering enthusiasts who share experiences with others, work on research projects and have fun with their fellows. Many of these groups collaborate with government agencies to solve the safety problems. There is about one hundred DEFCON groups in the USA.
This year DEFCON convention is held August 1st through August 4th at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. All four days cost $180 and include different kinds of entertainment. The program consists of art installations, presentations and parties. Among the guests there will be CODAME, an arts+tech+fashion+hacking collective, who will be throwing a Saturday night art installation party; Internet radio classic soma fm, who are broadcasting a special DEF CON stream; famous DJs and many others. The tickets can be booked at the website.