The 5 Most Controversial DEF CON Talks Of All Time

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Written by Karina Kokina

DEF CON, the (in)famous Cybersecurity Hacking Conference, is well-known for providing a wide selection of intriguing and educational seminars on various cybersecurity themes. Here are some of the most controversial DEF CON talks of all time!

If you’re new to DEF CON here are some reasons why attending DEF CON is a fantastic idea, as well as some memorable moments.

Here are some well-known DEF CON talks that have received attention, recognition, and a fair shake of media coverage:

#1 “How to Hack a Car”

by Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek

A demonstration given by these two researchers in 2013 showed how they could use a laptop computer to take control of the electronic systems in a vehicle, including the steering and the brakes.

The presentation enhanced people’s knowledge of the flaws in today’s vehicles, which in turn led to more people working to protect those vehicles.

#2 “Your Body, the Big Brother”

by Anastasia Dedyukhina

This talk from 2017 examined the ways that technology corporations are utilizing data to control our emotions and affect our behavior.

Dedyukhina said that in order to safeguard our privacy, we need to be more aware of how we use technology and take active measures to do so.

#3 “Fuzzing: Brute Force Vulnerability Discovery”

by Patrice Godefroid

This talk, which was given in 2003 at DEF CON 11, presented the idea of “fuzzing,” which is a method for locating vulnerabilities in software by introducing random data into its input fields.

The process of “fuzzing” has rapidly gained popularity as a result of its efficiency in locating software defects.

#4 “The Future of War”

by P.W. Singer

During his address in 2014, Singer discussed the ways in which technological advancements, such as drones and cyber strikes, are altering the character of conflict.

The presentation emphasized how important it is for government officials and military commanders to think about the ramifications of newly developed technologies.

We actually have a specific category of cyberwar conferences that you might find of interest.

This subject matter has become increasingly topical since the Russian invasion of Ukraine – especially with regard to understanding how effective Russo-Ukraine cyber war was and is.

#5 “The Internet of Things That Lie”

by Joshua Corman

In a talk given in 2016, the authors warned of the dangers posed by Internet of Things (IoT) devices that lacked adequate security, which is increasingly being employed in critical infrastructure as well as other applications.

Corman claimed that we ought to start giving Internet of Things (IoT) security a higher priority before it is too late to do so.

Incidentally, if you’re interested in learning about some of the best IoT conferences, we have a resource on that.

In Summary

These are just a few examples of the many notable and impactful lectures that have been presented at DEF CON throughout the years.

The conference is known for hosting a wide variety of speakers each year. The conference continues to be an invaluable forum for the exchange of ideas and observations regarding cybersecurity and other related themes.

These are only a few controversial DEF CON talks. There certainly are others.

If you find this interesting and are interested in speaking at DEF CON, then we’d encourage you to read the resource that we’ve put together.

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