A hacker convention is a good place to meet people you may have only met in a chat room or through a newsgroup; it's also a good place for meeting new friends from both the hacker side of the computer underground as well as the law enforcement side, including FBI and Secret Service agents who may be attending the conference. Anyone can attend a hacker convention; you don't need credentials! Whether you're a hacker, a law enforcement agent, or just someone curious to see what life looks like in the computer hacking world, you might find something of interest at these top hacker conventions.

  • DefCon Annual hacker convention held in Las Vegas, often attended by hackers, media, and government officials. One popular contest is "Spot the Fed," where attendees attempt to locate FBI agents keeping an eye on the conference (http://www.defcon.org).

  • HOPE (Hackers On Planet Earth) An annual convention run by 2600 magazine, focusing on all aspects of hacking, including phone phreaking, virus writing, social engineering, and information warfare (http://www.h2k2.net).

  • SummerCon One of the oldest hacker conventions, it focuses on hacking, phone phreaking, and computer security (http://www.summercon.org).

  • ToorCon One of the newer computer security conferences run by another group of talented hackers who wish to spread their knowledge to others (http://www.toorcon.org).