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Despite embracing the government, DEF CON maintains its mischievous hacker roots

Raucous applause stuffed the the huge conference room within Las Vegas’s Paris on line casino: the federal government had arrived.

Seated at the back of a desk at the once a year DEF CON convention in Las Vegas was once Congressman Ted Lieu, and, joined by way of Rep. James Langevin of Rhode Island, he had come to invite a big crowd of hackers and safety execs for lend a hand. The as soon as famously Fed-averse crowd was once loving it

However do not get it twisted — DEF CON hadn’t long past cushy. The mischievous and lawless facet of this assemblage of the hacker group was once out in complete impact – assuming, this is, you knew the place to appear. 

Inviting the Guy for your birthday celebration

Chances are you’ll now not be expecting attendees at a tradition infamous for on line casino hacks, phreaked elevators, and literal tin-foil hats to include any authority determine — let on my own the ones aligned with regulation enforcement — and for far of DEF CON’s historical past that assumption would had been in large part proper. That is not so true anymore. 

Tournament attendees and organizers have most commonly shed their brazenly adverse attitudes towards the U.S. executive and its officers. Such a lot so, in reality, that the Division of Hometown Safety has even despatched representatives to provide at DEF CON. 

This yr’s convention, which ran from Aug. eight – 11, was once no other. Along with Lieu and Langevin, Senator Ron Wyden attended and spoke about privateness. The federal government and the hackers, it sort of feels, had change into good friend good friend. 

Alternatively, strolling the ground of the 4 casinos taking part in host to this yr’s DEF CON supplied a stark reminder that attendees have not given up on wreaking slightly playful havoc. 

Breaking Vegas

Issues steadily cross badly in Las Vegas, however normally at the receiving finish of that ache are the vacationers — now not the casinos and companies that thrive off extracting each ounce of imaginable worth from the wide-eyed customer. 

Certainly one of DEF CON’s simple charms is that it reliably flips that script. 

In Planet Hollywood, for instance, any person took the time to hack a Tipsy Robotic drink kiosk. 

After we swung by way of to test it out, most of the ordering pills have been knocked offline. One guy, dressed in a DEF CON badge, were given chased out of the bar by way of an worker — concerned about, as the previous claimed, “having a look on the TOS.”

Different casinos surrounding the conference have been house to a unexpected quantity of malfunctioning virtual slot machines. 

Low-tech strategies of dissent have been additionally hired. Stickers apparently mocking Vegas’s all-seeing surveillance cameras confirmed up all over around the Strip.  

And, neatly, a large number of virtual issues simply roughly appeared to smash — a telltale signal that hackers are on the town. 

This, in fact, does not even contact at the untold collection of professional conference talks offering detailed explanations of the way to stick it to the Virtual Guy. 

In different phrases, DEF CON nonetheless has it. 

Having simply wrapped its 27th yr, the convention has obviously grown from its early, extra freewheeling days. You might be much more likely to run into any person running to safe elections than to subvert them. 

Fortunately, alternatively, that does not imply DEF CON has misplaced its troublemaking spark. To the contrary, if this yr’s DEF CON was once any indication, the troublemaking is simply getting began. Assuming all of the convention is not canceled, this is. 

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