The Best Hacker Conferences of 2020

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What Do We Mean By “Hacker Conferences”?

You can think of a “Hacker Conference” as being a niche with IT Security Conferences and events, i.e. of the umbrella term “Cybersecurity Conferences”.

Of course, it’s kinda obvious that a Hacker Conference will focus more on the nerdy and slightly more nefarious aspect of Computer & Network Security.

Other Types of Computer Security Conferences

Put it this way, the more corporate it is then the less likely it will be defined as being a “Hacker Con”.

Here’s what we mean: Black Hat is corporate, DEF CON is not. A Hacker Conference will be slightly more academic in nature and will, for the most part, be a series of talks and presentations that will present research demonstrating vulnerabilities past the zero-day disclosure.

Hacker Conferences are, of course, an excellent place for system and network administrators, hackers, phreakers and computer security experts to meet and discuss the latest and greatest hacks out there, but also to share information on the experience and how to better combat security threats.

What Happens At Hacker Conferences?

They are basically all the same and offer a mix or a combination of the following activities:

  • Lockpicking
  • Pentesting
  • Hacking Tool Demonstrations
  • Capture The Flag Opportunities
  • Training Classes
  • Hackathons
  • …and they also typically include a fun social element too!

There are a ton of events out there, here are our recommended Hacker Cons to attend.

Heads Up: If you’d like to suggest an event, local or otherwise, please drop a comment below rather than submit the event formally through our normal process. We’d like to keep this post as a “Hacker Community” resource for our visitors that seek a more, shall we say, edgy event?

Hacker Conferences in the United States

BSides USA (State/ City Wide)
We’re gonna mention this for all the geographical areas, but we can’t mention BSides enough. We’re huge fans.

BSides (according to the founder whom we interviewed a while back), based its’ name on the “other side” of 45rpm singles; i.e. the more “pioneering and alternative version of a released piece of music”.

BSides is all about the “alternative talks”; i.e. it gives a voice to the hackers that had their submission of a “Call For Papers” rejected by conference organizers because they might have been considered as being risqué.

Here are some popular BSides events taking place in the USA in 2021

In fact, out all of the above BSides, I’d say that the BSides Las Vegas is the biggest, perhaps because it proceeds DEF CON.

Obviously, we had to mention DEF CON. This year, 2021 will be DEF CON 27, here’s more info. We’ve also got a resource which is called “The Best DEF CON Talks Of All Time” which you might find of interest.

What makes DEF CON unique is that it is the oldest and largest Hacker Conference taking place in the world.

You’ve got to pay cash to get into DEF CON, credit cards are not allowed which in my opinion says it all.

Consider DEF CON as the Mecca of Cybersecurity Hacker Conventions.

DerbyCon should have made our Top Ten InfoSec Events Page (which we update every year) and in fact, it probably will cause it is freakin’ amazing. Typically taking place at the end of the year we’d recommend that you check out DerbyCon if you are interested in attending Hacker Conventions in the US.

Another cool event is GrrCON which we’d encourage you to hit up if you’re into edgy events, especially if you live in the Michigan area.

Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE)
This one is special.

It’s old school. Seriously – check it out, it’s absolutely fascinating – so much so that we had to write a post on it called: Old School Hacker Conventions.

H.O.P.E. or HOPE as it is intermittently written takes place in New York City, we believe, every other year. It’s organized by 2600: The Hacker Quarterly.

HackMiami Conference
We are biased.

We used to live in Miami and we attended a few gigs that these guys put on and they are indeed a talented bunch.

If you live in Florida then get to know: HackMiami.

Say no more. This event has made our Top Ten for the last, ahem, five years. Here’s a write-up.

Another f-ing cool event. Here’s more info.

Other Hacker Conventions in the US that absolutely deserve a mention (and a much better write up when I get the time!)

Hacker Conferences in India

The guys that organize NullCon are a friendly bunch, we’ve been in touch with them over the years. Here’s a write up on their event and why we think it’s one of the better Hacker Conventions in India.

If you live in Lucknow, India, then this event is certainly worth checking out.

We’re not entirely too sure if this event is still going, however, if it is please let us know a drop a comment below.

Hacker’s Idol
This outfit is associated with the Indian Cyber Army (we believe). To learn more, hit up their Facebook Page.

Again, not sure if this one is going on but hit it up – it looks definitely edgy enough to merit a prime slot in our Indian Hacker Convention list.

The Hackers Conference
This is a big one.

THC is one of India’s biggest Hacker Conferences which is held in New Delhi, India every Year.

BSides Delhi
As we stated before, we’re big fans of BSides – here’s one taking place in Delhi.

It’s worth also pointing out that we have a post and resource dedicated to Indian Cybersecurity Conferences here, i.e. the more “formal” ones.

Hacker Conferences in the UK

We have a dedicated page for all events taking place in the UK here.

With the long and rich history of the UK and IT Security (Belthely Park, The Doughnut, yadda, yadda it is hardly surprising that there are a ton of Hacker Conferences in the UK, not just in London I should add!

These guys seem to have their shizzle together. They’ve never reached out to us but that’s ok, we still think they’re cool. Here’s a link to their event in London that takes place in March.

BSides London
Say no more, BSides, like we’ve said repeatedly now, is fantastic. BSides London is particularly cool. There’s also BSides Leeds, BSides Manchester and also in Edinburgh.

If you have any other to add please add a comment below.

The UK has a ton of DEC CON events too, here are their listings:

(You can think of the DEF CON events as a franchise. We’ve been to the one in London and it was in a pub and became quite a boozy affair)

This one takes place on a regular basis in London. If you live and work in Cybersecurity in London then this event would be worth attending. If you’ve been to it please let us know. The organizers don’t seem to have a website but they do keep their meetup page updated it seems.

Manchester Grey Hats
As well as BSides Manchester (link above) this event could be construed as also being a Hacker Meeting (‘Hacker Convention’) taking place in Manchester, UK.

Bath Area Cyber Cluster
If you live in the Bath region of the UK, which is basically Bristol, then we’d encourage you to get your geek on here. It’s not exactly a “Hacker Meeting” (we think!) but they appear to put on some decent shows.

Again, if you can think of any other event to add to this page and you live in the UK then please add a comment below rather than submit to the usual route.

Hacker Conferences in Australia

Maybe somewhat surprisingly there are heap loads of Hacker Conferences taking place in Australia.

Taking place in Perth, this event has been going on for a while now. Not sure what’s going on with their website but hit them up, they might have updated it by now, I last checked the end of 2018.

This event is in Brisbane and yup, they’ve definitely won the award for having a seriously awesome name. This event takes place in April.

This security event takes place in Sydney and we believe it might be one of the more nerdy events taking part in Northern Australia for the nefarious minded folks of you out there. Alas, this event is kaput.

BSides Canberra
As stated ad nuseum now, we’re big fans of BSides, and here a fantastic one taking place in Canberra. In fact, this could be a very good networking event for you to attend if you are looking for work because attendees will likely be coming from the Australian Cyber Security Conference (ACSC), which takes place a few days before. The organizers probably got that inspiration from BSides Vegas which piggybacks off DEF CON and Black Hat.

Unrest Conference
Do you live in Melbourne? If so you’re in luck. We can’t seem to find a website for these guys seem if you can then let us know by adding a comment below.

Here’s a link to other Cybersecurity Conferences in Australia in 2021

Hacker Conferences in Israel

The Israelis can’t get enough of their security events. We’ve got a ton of events here (which are slightly more formal than what is trying to be articulated in this resource).

DevSecCon Tel Aviv 2018
This, as the title suggests, this event focuses on the developer side of things and it might be of interest to those seeking to network with like-minded DevOps folk.

We’re not sure if this event is still in existence, but if it is then it certainly fits this bill of being an “Israeli Hacker Convention.”

BSides Tel Aviv
Whilst we definitely cannot be 100% sure whether y2hack is taking place we are 100% sure that BSides Tel Aviv is.

Out of all of our geographic selections in this resource, we’re short of Israeli Hacker Events so if you know of any please jump in a drop a name in the form below.

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