There are several high-profile, annual cybersecurity conferences that provide an avenue for white hat hackers, security researchers, and others to learn new trends in the field.
Below, you will find is a list of the best cybersecurity and hacker conferences you can attend.
Jeff Moss founded DEFCON in 1993 in what was supposed to be a farewell party for a friend. But now, it’s one of the biggest hacker conferences in the world.
The conference is held in Las Vegas every summer and attended by cybersecurity professionals, security researchers, students, journalists, federal law enforcement agents from the FBI, and many others.
The last DEFCON was named ‘DEFCON 27’ and held on August 8–11, 2019. It took place in the Paris Hotel, Bally’s Hotel, Planet Hollywood, and Flamingo Hotel with an attendance of approximately 30,000 people.
The convention brings several speakers to deliver speeches on cybersecurity challenges and tactics to thwart malicious attacks. Moreover, there are hackathons ranging from lockpicking to art-related contests, scavenger hunts, and Capture the Flag.
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In the most popular contest, known as the Capture the Flag (CTF), groups of hackers compete by attacking and defending systems. Badges are awarded to winners of contests at DEFCON and the highest badge is The Black Badge. This badge permits free entrance to DEFCON for life, which makes it worth thousands of dollars.
The RSA Conference
RSA Conferences are a series of security conferences that take place in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the United Arab Emirates every year. The number of attendees for each event stands at approximately 50,000. Jim Bidzos founded this conference in 1991.
The conference consists of educational seminars on IT, networking, and presentation of programs. Speakers compete fiercely for speaking positions as they are very competitive with thousands vying for a few hundred positions.
The conferences are typically themed and centered around one or two topics. Moreover, there is an exhibition where vendors have the opportunity to present solutions to IT problems to attendees.
Jeff Moss also founded Black Hat after four years of DEFCON. Despite its name, it’s a conference that teaches ethical hacking and how to counter cyberthreats.
It is a cybersecurity conference that provides the latest information and also the latest trends in information security. The attendees vary from hackers, representatives of government agencies, executives, hackers, top security professionals, and even non-technical individuals.
The conference takes place in Las Vegas, Barcelona, London, Abu Dhabi, and usually holds some days before DEFCON. Additionally, Amsterdam, Tokyo, and Washington, D.C have also hosted Black Hat in the past.
The conference comprises three major aspects: the Black Hat Briefings, Black Hat Trainings, and Black Hat Arsenal.
The black hat briefings involve speeches on topics like reverse engineering and hacking delivered by top industry players. The arsenal is an exhibition.
THOTCON is the first hacker conference to hold in Chicago. Nicholas J. Percoco, Matt Jakubowski, Jonathan Tomek, and others organize this event.
The exact location is kind of a secret. Attendees only know the location a week before the event. The letters of the words of the Chicago Area Code (312) form the name. Three, One, Two (THOT). The purpose for creating the event was to bring together hackers in Chicago without spending a lot of money on traveling.
It is a low budget event consisting of several tracks of both short and long talks, contests, and workshops. Topics of discussion include data visualization, computer/human interfaces, wearable computing, intelligence gathering, and surveillance. Also, THOTCON counts towards security certifications such as CAP, SSCP, and CISSP CPE credits.
ShmooCon is an annual conference in several locations in Washington DC. It lasts for three days with the first day comprised of speed talks called One Track Mind.
The last two days consists of three different tracks – Build It, Belay It, and Bring It On. The talks are on a wide variety of subjects such as inventive software, technology exploitation, computer security, and hardware solutions.
The convention also supports non-profit organizations through t-shirt sales. These charities include Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and Hackers for Charity (HFC), and the No Starch Press Foundation. The event typically sells out fast, with 2,175 people attending in 2019.
OWASP Global Appsec Conference
The Open Web Application Security Project hosts the OWASP Global AppSec annually. The organizers are a security organization that aims to provide effective and practical security guidance to companies.
The event starts with three days of training followed by a two-day conference. Global AppSec brings cybersecurity experts to deliver technical talks on IT issues. There are also debate panels, keynote speeches from top players on cybersecurity, contests, and vendor booths.
Chaos Communication Congress
The Chaos Communication Congress is hosted by Chaos Computer Club (CCC), which is the largest association of hackers in Europe. The congress started in 1984.
The event features lectures related to privacy, hacktivism, data security, online freedom of speech, and others. It’s also the largest cybersecurity conference after DEFCON. The congress takes place at the Trade Fair Grounds in Leipzig, Germany. In the past, it also took place in Hamburg and Berlin.