Hacker convention adds junior event

Kids are being invited to Las Vegas to learn hacking skills.

Nope, this isn’t another story from the creative mind of Stephen Glass, but a genuine event. The annual DEF CON hacker convention will for the first time feature a special children’s event this weekend at the Rio hotel, known as DefCon Kids.

The event is aimed at children aged 8 to 16 and will include a range of activities including using Google to find “secret information”, the history of cryptography, and practical lockpicking.

There’ll also be a session where a ten-year-old girl using the pseudonym CyFi will show off “her first public vulnerability disclosure.” And for one event, there’s the promise that the audience “will leave with smiles on their faces and circuit boards around their necks.”

There’s no charge for the events, but all children must be accompanied by a parent at all times, and the parent must have a ticket for the main DEF CON event. There’s also a spectacular disclaimer for those thinking of bringing their kids:

“The DefCon Kids conference room will be situated in and around the adult DEFCON, therefore you and your kids will be exposed to a wide assortment of people, lifestyles and philosophies…. There will be adult language, alcohol and there may be nudity.”

It’s also important to note the FAQ for the main event which, dealing with the question of what to bring, explains “Its generally a good idea if you are a pale geek to have some sunscreen at the top of your list.”

It seems encouraging parents and children to come to the events together isn’t just a case of serving an audience, but also dealing with an inevitability. The event FAQ also notes “While there are no age limits [for the main convention], we have consistently cooperated with parents and/or private investigators who are looking for children that ‘ran away from home’ to go to DEF CON.”


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