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Best Hacker Conferences of 2019



Best Hacker Conferences of 2019

If you work in InfoSec or consider yourself a hacker, then attending a conference is a great way to network with like-minded people, and sharpen your hacking skills with contests. Attending conferences can put you in touch with people you otherwise wouldn’t have met, and potentially elevate your career.


Where: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

When: August 8 – 11 2019


DEF CON started in 1992 and is one of the oldest continuously running hacker conventions around, and also one of the largest. DEF CON features lots of speeches by industry professionals, as well as contests and even live music shows at night. It is a highly social event where talking to likeminded hackers will be a major part of the experience. Another interesting quirk is that you can only pay for tickets in cash since the attendees don’t want a paper trail to identify them.

From Reddit, and us here are some ‘Tips for a First Timer’ at DEF CON

  1. Don’t be afraid to talk to people
  2. User Reddit user MrKatov says: focus on the villages and the people. Almost all of the talks will be on youtube later (except the sky talks) so take advantage of the things you can’t get after defcon.
  3. Do a little homework by visiting the DEF CON website. The website has an FAQ section, with some very informative, as well as humorous responses. For example, in the ‘rules of DEF CON’ it states “Please refrain from doing anything that might jeopardize the conference or attendees such as lighting your hair on fire or throwing lit road flares in elevators.”
  4. Stay Hydrated, it is summer in Vegas so temperatures will be high and alcohol will be flowing, which will dehydrate you.

Black Hat

Where: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

When: August 3-8 2019


Black Hat has often been nicknamed as the corporate version of DEF CON. DEF CON is aimed at all hackers, whether that’s a high up IT professional, or unknown script kiddies, as such, it is more informal. DEF CON charges a cheap flat rate for everyone on the door. Black Hat has a considerably higher price and is aimed at professionals. Federal agents and major corporations attend Black Hat, making it a great place to network for professionals.

Security Entrepreneur Phil Zimmerman defined the difference between the two conferences as follows. At Black Hat, you’d find lots of people who consider Edward Snowdon a traitor for his actions against the NSA. At DEF CON you’re more likely to hear “I think he broke the law, but I don’t think he is a traitor,”

There is also a Black Hat in Asia every year, held in Singapore.


Where: Louisville, Kentucky, USA

when: Sept 6-8 2019


DerbyCon has amassed a following of hackers, and is often called “baby DEF CON”. The talks at DerbyCon tend to be more on the technical side that the other two conferences, so it’s a good idea to know your stuff, rather than be a hacking tourist for this one. If you want to attend DerbyCon, this is your last year to do so, they put up a statement earlier this month saying that this will be their last year.

Reddit user dremspider gave his opinion on the conference:

“IMHO, it is my favorite conference. I have been to the first one and only missed one year. It is basically Defcon without the massive amount of people, long waits and having to snake through the casinos. The talks are always great and it is rare you can’t get in one if you want to see it. The CTFs and other challenges are top notch. Louisville is a fun place to visit for a week.”

Wild West Hackin’ Fest

Where: Deadwood, South Dakota, USA

When: (Unconfirmed): October 23-25 2019


This one is a little more fun and informal than others on the list, but provides lots of hands-on hacking as well as talks. Wild West Hackin’ Fest started in 2017 and has been steadily growing each year. If you visit the website you can see plenty of photos of the conference and the kind of fun to be had.


Where: Southfield, Michigan, USA

When: May 3 – 5 2019


Penguicon is a convention in southeastern Michigan designed originally to mix the communities of the science fiction fandom and Linux user groups. Penguicon has been described as a place where “hackers, makers, foodies, open source software junkies, anime buffs, and science fiction fans of all ages and backgrounds come together in a hotel for a weekend and totally blow the roof off.”

Honorable Mention: ShmooCon

ShmooCon, like Black Hat and DEF CON, is one of the bigger hacker conferences. It is also cheaper than the other two and is held in Washington DC every year. Unfortunately, the conference is held around 18 January, so 2020 will be the next conference.




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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Kyle Hill

    October 29, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    If we stuck to the Commodore way of ROM on top of RAM this hacking crap would never have been an issue and not even mentioned except as fantasy land talk and far out conspiracy stuff. That is why those who knew about it Commodore was the king. It sold the most computers then any other by a large martian.

    The IBM and Apple II all shared the same exploits of being RAM based think of it as a messy room with cupboards to put things away. When you power down those two it has to “think” about what you did recently which is why it was dangerous to power it down without doing it all the way so the stuff would be in the right places the best it can barring power outages.

    The Commodore due to being ROM on top of RAM didn’t have that issue. You could turn it on and off as many times as you want and it would put everything in the right spot as you couldn’t write over it without special tools to break things (Which were legal on Commodore). Now Commodore’s from the C64 on had a modem you could go online with. We had and still have one in our junk drawer and pull it out once in a while. Our Commodore 64 has something wrong with our Stereo Sid chip.

    The Commodore Amiga and Plus 4 all were the same like that. The Plus 4 put Commodore out of business because Jack stepped down and a professor from Berkeley California ran it and hated business. He taught in his lectures about the ‘evil’ of capitalism so he purposely did bad things.

    He made NO software for vendors to sell so when the machines were released they sat on the shelves a long time and the guy would refuse return orders. It was also NOT compatible with the 64. The joysticks weren’t either. Nothing was. They had totally different plugs.

    At the same time he did the Commodore luggable which was a total arse of a joke to make a portable Commodore it was like running a Vic 20. It really had whatever the limitations of it was.

    The Commodore COULD in theory be hacked if you went online but all it would do is mess what you were doing online they couldn’t mess with the machine itself because if you turn it off it is back to where it is the next time you flip er on.

    This resulted in the Commodore booting up to BASIC each time so you can program or run something. Most of it was simple. It was load * comma 8 comma 1 or something like that. Other times it may be type “Run” I think the first was more common. You could also do a trick using the ! thing. It’s different on the Commodore it’s a weird kind of arrow key and bypass all that.

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