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DEF CON: A Beginner's Guide Part II (Updated 2023)
DEF CON is an experience, not a conference. With 30+k attendees, it's HUGE and can be overwhelming. Here's a guide to help you navigate.
If you’ve never been to DEF CON this guide is for you. This post is a compressed guide for those in a hurry. Go to the end for my original in-depth guide that will guide you through the feel of being there and include some tips and tricks.
For me personally, DEF CON is a re-energizing experience. It’s a place where I get to see my friends and colleagues IRL. It’s a place where I can be with people that understand me, my mission, and struggles. Being a cybersecurity practitioner can be a difficult job, so this is a great place to re-energize and keep on going.
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In A Hurry or Don’t Want to Read?
Deviant Ollam posted an excellent video debunking some myths around personal device security and also talking about logistics at DEFCON. Much of which is covered here as well.
This is good life advice in general.
Everyone’s risk model is different.
DEF CON 31 Theme
Every DEF CON has it’s own theme and style that permeates throughout the CON. It’s really inspiring in fact something awesome to see. This year’s theme is “The Future Will Prevail”.
To me, it speaks to building resilience, which to me has been a journey I’ve been on personally and professionally for a few years now.
Make sure to read Dark Tangeant’s, (the founder of DEF CON) editorial to the conference when you get your Def Con booklet, it’s always really inspiring.
Everything DEF CON
If you’re looking to deep dive on EVERYTHING DEF CON 31, then the forums are a good place to start. Like I said there is SO much going on, and this is a good place to see everything going on.
DEF CON 31 Villages
Probably one of the most important part of the CON are the Villages. There are SO many things to see, you kind of have to decide whether you want to go to the villages or the talks.
Each one is a mini-conference in and of themselves. It’s a great place to learn and meet people too!
Note: Sadly the SKY TALKS village is canceled this year (not a joke). SKY TALKS is a great place to hear some grey area talks
DEF CON 31 Schedule
I recommend installing the Hacker Tracker App to help have a digital version of everything going on:
DEF CON Socials
Make sure to follow all the official DEF CON social channels. This is a great place to watch for updates and announcements
Also, each Village has their own social media, so make sure to follow those if you’re interested in attending.
Excited About DEF CON and want to share? Here’s a trailer
Bring CASH for your TICKET
Unless you pre-purchased a ticket online (no longer an option) you will need $440 CASH to buy a ticket.
Ok, so that’s a lot of the new stuff I wanted to cover. I’ll keep adding things above here as I see fit.
Go now and make sure to read last year’s guide for an in-depth primer.