The Def Con Convention

 Def Con, held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada, is the main hacker convention. The gathering includes panel discussion on topics such as embedded-systems hacking, viruses, and enemy profiling. The convention also features games in which teams of participants compete to break into each other's computer system. Despite the scattered presences of convicted computer felons, the conference looks more like a friendly computer industry convention for teenagers, computer nerds, and computer professionals. Indeed, as Internet World notes, "the community gathered at Def Con has matured into a force in mainstream culture and computing. Its community has played a key role in developing technologies such as sniffer software and firewalls and has inspired a generation of kids to pursue careers in computer security."

Hackers are fighting to defend the virtue of their deeds and to show that hacking is nothing but a way of life that also makes positive contributions to society. For example, at the Y2hacK conference in March in Tel Aviv, hackers presented reports on their investigation of the Israeli web, from which they concluded that 28% of the servers are vulnerable to electronic attacks. System administrators of servers were invited to contact the convention's officials to get a detailed report on their systems' security flaws.

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Caulfield, B. (Aug. 1, 1999). Glory Be to Hackers. Internet World.

Blackburn, N. (Apr. 9, 2000), Hackers vs. crackers. The Jerusalem Post, p. 8, sec. Economics

Revenge of the nerds. (Mar. 30, 2000). Financial Times (London), p.13, sec. Observer.



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Last revised April 16, 2000