Thousands of hackers descend on Las Vegas, Nevada, for 25th Defcon (DC25) fun and games. No real names are required at the cash-only event.
The cyber-security world, which has coined expressions such as "spear phishing" for certain types of email attacks, categorize some hackers as black hat or white hat. The black hatters exploit Internet security systems. The white hat kind build and protect the systems. They mingle, indistinguishable from each other and from the thousands who come to Defcon purely for the satisfaction of the contests or to recruit talent.
The superstars reveal themselves in contests that include cyber lock-picking and password cracking. The most prestigious challenge is Capture The Flag. Competitors must pre-qualify for the so-called World Series of Hacking, and the prize is free entry to Defcon for life.
The theme for DC25 is: Community, Discovery and the Unintended Uses of Technology.
Defcon was started in 1993 by Jeff Moss, a hacker also known as Dark Tangent. It has seen explosive growth every year.
The Black Hat conference, also in Las Vegas, precedes Defcon, and there is considerable crossover of attendees. Black Hat speeches and attractions are geared for the corporate side of cyber-security.
Date written/update: 2017-05-05