My first Defcon experience

Defcon 23Defcon is a meta-conference which anyone passionate by IT security should attend. It is more than a conference, it is the heaven of hackers and security professionals, a place where definitely you will find something both cool and useful, even if you are interested in web security, reverse engineering, social engineering, hardware, lock-picking, Internet of Things or car-hacking topics.

Las Vegas

If Defcon reputation is not enough to get you at the conference, Las Vegas might be another reason to come here. If you don’t like to sleep, have some free time and some money, you’ll surely enjoy Vegas. Casinos and night-clubs are everywhere.

If you didn’t visit Paris or New York, no problem, here you can find the Tour Eiffel and the Statue of the Liberty. You can also visit a lot things: High Roller Wheel, Bellagio Fountain show and Luxor pyramid hotel are just a few examples.


You can find a list of attractions here: Las Vegas attractions

First day

Nobody expected too many participants in the first day, but as you can see below, the queue was huge. Also, only two tracks were not enough to hold all the participants. However, I was able to see a few presentations.

Defcon 23

I realized from the first day: Defcon is huge! There are thousands of people willing to participate and it is really difficult to handle all of them. Congratulations Defcon Goons for managing this situation with professionalism!


The conferece didn’t seem so crowded in the other days: five presentation tracks, villages, Vendor’s Area, everything was ready.

The talks were held in huge rooms, so everyone was able to see them.

Defcon presentation

There were presentations on any security subject you can imagine: web security, Active Directory, vechicle hacking, RFID, wireless, encryption, Linux, fuzzing, networking, drones and so on.

The only problem is that you can’t be in multiple places to see multiple presentations at the same time.

My presentation

I was scheduled to present Friday at 17:00. I didn’t sleep too well being nervous about the talk and in the morning I finished my slides and prepared the final demo.

NetRipper slides

Presentation slides:

Click to access NetRipper.pdf

One hour before my talk, I had to be in the Speaker’s Green Room in order to make sure everything is ok with the projector, network connection and demo. This helped me, because I was able to extend my demo.

I wasn’t as nervous as I expected at my talk. My Speaker Goons explained me how it works and how to manage my time.

Ionut Popescu Defcon 23 Presentation

The room was not full at the beginning, but people started to come even if the presentation already started.

Ionut Popescu Defcon 23 Presentation

After the talk I was congratulated by a few guys and someone asked me if I will continue to work and improve the project: the answer was “of course”!

Then, someone came to me and said me “Felicitari!” (congratulations in Romanian) and I was happy to see there were a few guys from Romania at the conference.

Project on GitHub:

Not only presentations

Even if the talks seems to be the heart of Defcon, this may not be completly true. There are a lot of things to do there:

  • Workshops
  • Villages
  • Different contests
  • Vendor’s Area
  • Chillout room

At the Vendor’s Area you can find T-shirts, books, hardware, lockpicking sets and so on.

Defcon 23 Vendor's Area

Unfortunetly, I was not able to see all the villages, attend all workshops or participate in contests, but everyone can select participation based on their preferences.

Don’t forget the parties after the conference!


Defcon is a “must-see” for anyone interested in IT security related stuff. It is not all about talks, it’s about networking, learning from the others and having fun!

If you didn’t plan your next year vacantion, take Vegas as an option.

Ionut Popescu, Senior Security Consultant @ KPMG Romania


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s