This year, Norton visited DefCon 24(link is external), a hacking conference held in Las Vegas. Established in 1993, this conference is designed to bring together people from all realms of the Internet security sector to explore the latest threats that are currently on the Internet, and to learn how to get ahead of them. This year, the conference had a record-breaking attendance of 22,000 people ranging from hackers, coders, journalists (me!), security researchers and even federal government employees.
This was my first time attending this conference, and although I did my research on it, it was beyond my expectations. My primary reason for wanting to attend DefCon was to see what this event is doing to help make the Internet a better place, and share it with our readers.
The conference hosts a multitude of learning events, contests, speaking engagements and social activities. There was a lot of focus on the vulnerabilities of Internet of Things, how to improve privacy standards, and social engineering.
My favorite part of the convention was the social engineering section- also known as “hacking the human.” The threats out there have reached beyond our computers and mobile devices, and now cybercriminals are targeting people in the real world. After all, there’s no security software available for our brains, yet. Therefore, this is really where the importance of cyber security via education comes in. While computer programs can block malicious code, they cannot block the scammer that calls you on your telephone, or manages to sneak through your spam filter. However, you can “hack” your own brain to help protect against those threats by educating yourself as much as possible.
What was most impressive to me was the community. Everyone in attendance had a common bond- making the Internet a safer place. It didn’t matter where you came from, or what you did- hackers freely talked to law enforcement, coders became friends with journalists- it was all about the sharing of information on how to make a better Internet for every single person that uses it.
This is part one of a multi-part series we will be publishing this week. We will be investigating the emerging threats that we learned about at the conference, and we will teach you how to stay ahead of them. We will also be exploring the importance of personal cyber security education and the pop-cultural relevance of hacking in today’s world, featuring the television show Mr. Robot.
You can read more about how hackers are trying to make the world the better place in the second installment of our series: DefCon 24- Hacking to Make the World a Better Place