For First Time Ever, Feds Asked to Sit Out Defcon Hacker Conference
Defcon, which is scheduled to run August 1 through 4 this year at the Rio, has almost always gone out of its way to welcome federal agents. The annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas during the dead of summer has long been famous for its “spot the fed” contest. Former federal prosecutor Curtis Karnow spoke at the inaugural event, according to this Defcon press archive. US Department of Defense Director Jim Christy has been attending since 1999 in an open campaign to attract top hacker talent to the ranks of military and federal agencies. Still, many more agents prefer to attend under the shadow of anonymity.
In many respects, the ties between Defcon and the federal government only strengthened in recent years. In 2009, Moss joined the Homeland Security Advisory Council, a post under which he advised Secretary Janet Napolitano on matters of computer security. And last year, National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander gave the Defcon keynote address, marking the highest-level Defcon appearance by a US government official.
It was Moss who suggested in a blog post Wed night that the feds consider not attending DEF CON this year.