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Sin City Gets Nervous for DEF CON

The hackers are coming, the hackers are coming!!!

You can almost hear the Paul Revere-like echoes through the streets of Las Vegas (or, err—at least one street, the Strip), as the black-hoodied ones descend for Black Hat and DEF CON 2017. Sin City businesses are nervously boarding up their internet connections in anticipation of a full-on onslaught.

In some cases, that means literally: Caesars Palace, which is hosting DEF CON, has completely closed its business center. 

UPS is getting in on the scaredy-cat action too (never mind that the majority of attendees are white hats with a long history of do-goodism), alerting customers that only emails with attachments are being accepted.

Wait, what?

As one of the Twitterati pointed out: “Really. You're accepting attachments but not USB sticks? We can understand the thought processes involved here, but the biz really needs some top-level security advice.”

OK, sure, 22,000 persons with mad coding skills swarming into the triple-digit heat of Vegas may seem alarming to those not in the know, especially with Russian hacking coverage keeping the vision of a virtual army of enemies at the gate alive in the pop culture ethos. But Fear and Hacking in Las Vegas this is not. At Black Hat, the sponsor names might feel familiar: McAfee, Cylance, Crowdstrike, etc.; the sessions, despite having names like “Adventures in Attacking Wind Farm Control Networks,” are largely focused on uncovering vulnerabilities and bringing to light new attack methods in order to beef up defense. And DEF CON, sure, was started by “Dark Tangent”, aka a guy with a handle—and we all know what guys with handles are like—but it’s pretty much ground zero for the curious-minded cyber-denizen who doesn’t mind a lot of representation from the corporates and feds.

At the end of the day, hackers go to Vegas in the summer for the same one reason any of us end up there: Because there’s a conference and we have to go. And there’s a lot of booze. That’s about it. So grow some courage, all ye casinos! Maybe sit in on a cool session or two. It’s all gonna be okay.

Unless you’re UPS. Then it’s definitely not gonna be okay. Yikes! 

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