hackercons.

Conferences, conventions, expositions, meetings, symposiums or parties, there have been places that technologically oriented people have meet or congressed for many years. It is very easy, if one plays the "Game of Firsts", to get hung up on what the first true "hacker" con is, who was at it, and what it consisted of. So instead, here is a somewhat liberal and loose history of the concept of the hacker con.

Industrial Age

The Great Exhibition of The Works of Industry of All Nations
London, England, May 1, 1851 - October 11, 1851

Also known as the first World Expo, held in a building especially built for the occasion, The Crystal Palace, which encompassed 10 acres in Hyde Park (the structure was meant to be temporary but was instead moved and rebuilt on Sydenham Hill overlooking London, where it lasted until 1936 (destroyed by fire).

The Last Message of Samuel Morse: A Day of Appreciation
New York City, NY, USA, June 10th, 1871

Over one thousand attendees came to NY to attend a day of appreciation to Samuel Morse. Funded originally with donations by employees of Western Union, it quickly gained momentum worldwide, and the final event included a trip around the harbor, performances in the park and the dedication of a statue, and as the highlight of the evening, the attendance of the 80 year old Morse (who would die within the year) who clicked out a thank you to the world, which was repeated globally.

1930s

Science Fiction Conventions Begin
1936-1939

There is some small controversy regarding the "first" science fiction convention. From Tim Richards: "On 22 October 1936, a group of New York fans visited a group of Philadelpia fans (a considerable effort in those days). The meeting was held at the home of one of the Philadelphia fans. Those at the meeting declared it to be the first SF convention. Many US fans consider this to have been both the first SF convention, and the first Philcon. This event should not be confused with Philcon I, the 1947 Worldcon. Earlier in 1936, UK fans announced they would be holding a convention in Leeds in public function premises. This event was held on 3 January 1937, and had a planned program. On the basis of venue and program, some UK fans consider this to have been the first SF convention (and some US fans hotly dispute this). Photographs indicate the dress code at all these early events seemed to be white shirt, jacket and tie. While clothing styles have changed, controversy and disputation seem to be with us always at SF conventions."

From Worldcon's history page: 1939 -- Nycon I: The 1939 Worldcon did not have a name, but simply called itself "World Science Fiction Convention". It has subsequently been called "Nycon I" and "The 1939 Worldcon". The convention was controlled by a so-called 'Ruling Triumvirate' whose other members were William S. Sykora and James V. Taurasi.

1960s

DECUS: The Digital Equipment Corporation Users Society
Formed in 1961, with regular meetings to the present day

The organization was founded in 1961 to support users of Digital Equipment Corporation's line of hardware and mainframes. The idea was to form a non-profit group with an executive board of volunteers that would provide an interface between the engineers/DEC and their users.

The first meeting was held at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Massachusetts.

In 1998, with the acquisition of Digital by Compaq corporation, DECUS became a Compaq User's Group, and in 2000, the U.S. chapter re-formed as ENCOMPASS.

1970s

The Celebration of Change
Miami Beach, FL, July 11-15, 1972

Subtitled "The Celebration of Change". From the issue of YIPL announcing the convention:

The World's First Phone Phreak Convention is being held on July 11-15, in Miami Beach! The Celebration of Change will include, in addition, teach-ins on telephones, contests, meetings with nationally-known phone phreaks. Plus the unveiling of new devices never yet revealed. Courses are going to be held on Phone Politics,Phone rip-offs, establishment rip-offs, and peoples technology. If you want to help or teach a class, write us immediately and include your phone no. At the same time there will be other events too, such as antiwar demos, women's rights, health care, antismack information and actions, and many other happenings. Get in touch with YIP in Miami for these if you want to be involved. The Convention and the Celebration of Change will be an incredible learning scene and you should start telling everyone you know to be there. If you are a budding phone phreak, you'll learn how a phone works, and how to make it work for you. Or come down for the Dot parade to legalize Marijuana, but COME DOWN, AND BRING YOUR FRIENDS. Put signs in freak stores and post notices in schools - MIAMI BEACH JULY 11-15. There'll be food, sun and fun.

This convention is mentioned again in the book Approaching Zero, however, the next issue of YIPL discusses the convention being in New York (were there two conventions?).

YIPL Phone Phreak Convention
New York, NY, July 29, 1972

The next issue of YIPL does not mention the Miami Beach convention at all, but instead reports on the July 29th convention in New York City, and describes it this way:

The Phone Phreak Convention on July 29 in New York was interesting indeed. Many newsmen, phreaks, and even a few undercover agents from the Phone Company attended, and watched a film about ripping off the phone kompany, ate Bell cookies, discussed in our workshops about circuits, legal questions & general strategies of Ma Bell. We'll be looking forward to the next convention soon. See ya there! By the way, the film is available for rent, so write to us.

The Second Annual International Phone Phreak's Convention
New York City, September 8, 1973
Announced in YIPL issue #20. Held at the Hotel Diplomat Grand Ballroom from 10am to 5pm. Admission was a $4 contribution, with YIPL subscribers free.

YIPL changed its name to TAP (Technological Assistance Program) after this convention, and submitted this report on the proceedings:

We had a lot of fun at this year's convention. There was significantly less paranoia than at last year's Convention. At that time, two men from the District Attorney's office, two men from the telephone company, and some dude who looked like an FBI agent posing as a reporter were really giving the people in the Blue Box workshop the creeps. Everybody was afraid to give out information with these guys taking pictures and making recordings at the workshop. A hastily organized legal workshop with Abbie helped to put things in perspective, and we announced the presence of the phone company agents, who promptly got uptight and left. This year there were quite a few more people attending (several hundred) and it appears even less agents. Black masks were handed out at the door for those who felt they didn't want to have pictures taken. Some people came already equipped with masks, sunglasses and brain wigs. A pair of security men from a Rochest Independent company admitted that they were only there on their own, but to learn what we were up to lately. The people who attended felt little animosity toward the few agent-types; in fact, a petition was circulating urging that all agents be paid double overtime for attending the convention.

Eight half-hour videotapes on many phases of phone phreaking, power heisting, and using slugs were shown on video monitors around the room. These were alternated with workshops in four areas around the ballroom. One workshop dealt with installing extra devices on your phone line, such as extensions, automatic answering equipment, hold buttons and the like. other workshops dealt with Con Ed, Boxes of all colors, Credit Card Calls, and "reforming" the phone company.

A number of display boxes were scattered over the area. One demonstrated the busy tones and dial tones and how they are generated and timed to to 60 and 120 interruptions per minute. Another played interesting things you might hear should you be so fortunate to call around the world to different phone numbers, like Dial-a-Disc in France, weather in Tokyo, or Sex on Sunset Strip. There was a display that demonstrated the 2600 cycle whistle and allowed you to practice it into a telephone handset, and probably the most popular was a Red Box, in which you could hear what each of the main circuits did and how the actual Coin Denomination Tones are produced. Some people were even making cassette recordings from the Red Box display unit!

The press was there in force, filming and interviewing anyone they could get to talk. The atmosphere seemed very light and people did seem to be enjoying the afternoon. Back issue were being sold rapidly, and most people passed up the organic carob cake and brownies in order to watch the videotapes or attend the workshops."

A scan of the TAP issue reviewing the convention is here.

From a New Scientist December 1973 article: "In the US, phreaking is receiving increasing publicity, and the annual conference held on 8 September at a major New York hotel was given wide press coverage. Unveiled at that meeting was the Red Box - an electronic device that simulates tone pulses sent to an operator when money is put into a coin box."

The full transcribed file is here.

London Phone Phreak "Conference"
Hammersmith, London, UK, October, 1972

From the New Scientist Magazine, December 13, 1973 issue:

When Post Office invesigators raided a Hammersmith, London flat in October 1972, the found a "phone phreaks" conference in progress with large quantities of telephone equipment, a computer printout listing supposedly secret Post Office codes, and devices for making calls. A Post Office installed monitoring device showed that one man had spent much of the day experimenting with one of London's international exchanges.

Nineteen men went on trial on 3 October at the Old Bailey. With advance promises of nominal fines, 10 pleaded guilty - one to actually making calls, the others to conspiracy. Fines ranged from 50 to 100 [pounds]. The other nine stood trial for conspiracy to defraud the telephone system. On 13 November, all were acquitted, in a trial estimated to have cost more than 100,000 [pounds].

USENIX Conferences Begin
New York City, June 18, 1975

As described by Peter H. Salus in the USENIX history page (and quoted from an article in the April 2005 issue of ;login:. "CUNY in Manhattan. Mel Ferentz runs the first USENIX conference. Of course, it wasn't called USENIX then, it was a UNIX users' group, until the lawyers at AT&T got tough about that (tm). And it wasn't the first meeting, either, as Lou Katz had run a small meeting in a conference room at Columbia in May 1974. But there were "about 40 people from 20 institutions" at the 1975 meeting. Look around at any USENIX conference, workshop, symposium. There'll be many times 40 folks. Yes, it has been 30 years, but the growth has come because USENIX has been where it's happening. And still is. USENIX is where Kirk McKusick talked about memory management. USENIX is where Tom Ferrin told us how to "cut this foil etch" and "insert this jumper wire." USENIX is where we first heard about Tcl and OAK (= Java) and Perl and GNOME. USENIX is where, in 1980 in Boulder, Colorado, Jim Ellis announced USENET. USENIX is where UUNET began. USENIX is where portability has been supported for 30 years. USENIX has been sponsoring redistributable software since 1976."

Notably, the article says that "USENIX held its first security workshop in 1988." While it might be percieved that the basic function of a conference that contains hackers is that security would be discussed, the article refers to a formalized workshop geared towards security. A cursory look into USENIX's past shows a presentation called "Secure Networking in the Sun Environment", presented by Bradley Taylor, David Goldberg, in the Summer 1986 USENIX Conference in June of 1986.

1980s

Chaos Commmunication Congress (CCC)
Hamburg, Germany, December 27, 1984

The Chaos Computing Club began hosting regular conferences in 1984, in Hamburg Germany, with a move to Berlin from 1994 onward.
  • 1984, Hamburg, Germany (CCC'84 nach Orion'64)
  • 1985, Hamburg, Germany (Du Darfst)
  • 1986, Hamburg, Germany (Damit Sie auch morgen noch kraftvoll zubyten konnen)
  • 1987, Hamburg, Germany (Offene Netze - Jetzt!)
  • December 28-30, 1988, Hamburg, Germany (ich glaub'es hackt)
  • 1989, Hamburg, Germany (Offene Grenzen: Cocomed zuhauf)
  • 1990, Hamburg, Germany
  • 1991, Hamburg, Germany (Per Anhalter durch die Netze)
  • 1992, Hamburg, Germany (Es liegt was in der Luft)
  • 1993, Hamburg, Germany (Ten Years After Orwell)
  • 1994, Berlin, Germany (Internet im Kinderzimmer: Big Business is Watching You)
  • December 27-29, 1995, Hamburg, Germany (Pretty Good Privacy - verdaten und verkauft)
  • December 27-29, 1996, Hamburg, Germany (Der futurologische Congress - Leben nach der Internetdepression)
  • December 27-29, 1997, Hamburg, Germany (Nichts ist wahr)
  • December 27-29, 1998, Berlin, Germany (All Rights Reversed)
  • December 27-29, 1999, Berlin, Germany
  • December 27-29, 2000, Berlin, Germany (Explicit Lyrics)
  • December 27-29, 2001, Berlin, Germany (Hacking is Not a Crime)
  • December 27-29, 2002, Berlin, Germany (Out of Order)
  • December 27-29, 2003, Berlin, Germany (Not a Number)
  • December 27-29, 2004, Berlin, Germany (The Usual Suspects)
  • December 27-29, 2005, Berlin, Germany (Private Investigations)

Copy Parties
Held Throughout Europe, Throughout the 1980s

The Commodore 64 was introduced in 1982 and dropped in price from US$500 to US$300 rather quickly, fashioning itself as one of best combinations of bang for the buck. With this soaring popularity came purchases for children and young adults, and with that came a desire for more software. The groups responsible for cracking (removing copy protection) on this software started organizing "copy parties", no doubt in homes but later in gymnasiums and auditoriums as attendance grew.

(An echo of this situation exists for the Apple II and other home computers and definitely precedes the Commodore 64 by years, but research continues on any formal gatherings).

While these different parties are not affiliated with each other (other than sharing various members and groups who attended different ones), they are grouped together for readability. This is also a very incomplete list by the nature of the parties themselves.

Notable among these is the Triad and Fairlight Copy Party, held in December of 1987, which had 180 attendees and was held in a school in Huddinge near Stockholm, Sweden... and the Velno Meeting, held in Venlo, Holland on December 19, 1987, which had 250 attendees.

The Razor 1911/Cartel/Abnormal Party in Trondheim Norway was visited by the Police to warn against illegal copying. This continues until Copy Parties become refashioned as "Demo Parties".

  • The Danish Circle Party, Soroe, Denmark (July 24-26, 1987)
  • Danish Gold Copy Party, Odense, Denmark (July 24-26, 1987)
  • NTC and Defiers Hacker Party, Furulund, Sweden (October, 1987)
  • Finnish Gold/The Jezebels Union Party, Vaajakoski, Finland (December, 1987)
  • Fantasy Cracking Service (FCS) Copy Party, Germany (December 5, 1987)
  • Triad and Fairlight Copy Party, Huddinge, Sweden (December 18-21, 1987)
  • Venlo Meeting, Velo, Holland (December 19, 1987)
  • Radwar Party, La Quinta Disco, Germany, (January 9, 1988)
  • SSI Copy-Party, Zurich Switzerland (February 6, 1988)
  • Dynamic Systems Copy-Party (February 20, 1988)
  • The Sharks Illegal Copy Party, Frankfurt, Germany (March 4-5, 1988)
  • The Silents and Stage 3 Party, Alvesta Sweden (April 5-8, 1988)
  • DigiParty 888, Hartola, Finland (April 20-22, 1988)
  • Rebels/Agile Copy Party, Tyreso, Swden (May 12-15, 1988)
  • Vortex 42 Party, Arkiva, Sweden (May 13-15, 1988)
  • Alcatraz Copy Party (May 28-29, 1988)
  • Dexion Meeting, Nykobing Sealand, Denmark (July 2-3, 1988)
  • Jewels, Danish Gold, Dominators and Upfront Party, Odense, Denmark (July 8-10, 1988)
  • Extasias' CopyParty (EXT88), Extasias CopyParty, (July 29-31, 1988)
  • Horizon & Jet-Speed Meeting, Enkoping, Sweden (August 8-11, 1988)
  • Byterapers Grendelparty '88, Iisalmi, Finland (August 8-16, 1988)
  • Take Off Copy Party, Koblenz/Valendar (August 20, 1988)
  • DNS-WOW Party, Holland (August 20, 1988)
  • Jungle Command Copy Party, Harmelen, Holland (August 25, 1988)
  • Alpha Flight and Spy & Mind Copyparty, Brusssel, Germany (September 24, 1988)
  • Salzburg Party, Salzburg, Austria (October 1, 1988)
  • Double Density Crew, Level4, The Supervisors Super Copy Party, Basel, Switzerland (October 3, 1988)
  • Razor 1911, The Cartel, Abnormal Party, Trondheim, Norway (October 7-9, 1988)
  • Venlo Meeting, Venlo, Holland (October 15, 1988)
  • Magnificent Force, World Wide Expressive, and Joy Division Copy-Party, Veenendaal, Holland (October 15-17, 1988)
  • Hexagon Copy Party, Denmark (October 21-23, 1988)
  • Thrust Copy-Party, Nurnberg, Germany (October 22, 1988)
  • Helloween Party 88, Alvesta, Sweden (240 Attendees) (November 3-6, 1988)
  • World of Wonders Copy-Party, Germany (November 26, 1988)
  • DNS-WOW Party, Nievenhagen, Holland (December, 1988)
  • Radwar Party II, Holland (December, 1988)
  • The Web Inc. Party, Holland (December 3, 1988)
  • The Powerslaves Party (TPS88), Holland (December 10-11, 1988)
  • The Jungle Command Party (December 20-21, 1988)
  • Alcatraz Copy-Party, Geneva, Switzerland (December 27-29, 1988)
  • Parties continue throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Summercon
St. Louis, Missouri, June 19-21, 1987

From Phrack #40: "When Taran King, Forest Ranger, and Knight Lightning first conceived the idea of SummerCon in late 1986, they probably never imagined that they would all three still be involved six years later or just how popular their high-school dream would become.

From the original announcement in Phrack #12: Don't miss it! SummerCon 1987. For those that don't already know, TeleComputist Newsletter and Phrack Inc. are sponsoring this year's big phreak gathering in St. Louis, Missouri. As many of you may note, St. Louis is the home of Metal Shop Private, Phrack Inc., and TeleComputist Newsletter. We all hope that since St. Louis is in the middle of the country that it will be easy for people to attend. We extend an invitation to anyone who wants to come. We will have a conference room and two suites in a hotel in St. Louis. The official date for SummerCon 1987 is June 19,20. This is far enough into the summer that everyone of the younger generation should be out of school and early enough that no one has to worry about facing reality right away. This date has also been chosen specifically as to not interfere with the St. Louis VP Fair (Vale Profit). If you are going to attend SummerCon, we ask that you contact Knight Lightning, Taran King, or Forest Ranger for more details.... The names of those attending will be kept confidential so as to not cause anyone discomfort, however we do ask that you identify yourself at the conference by means of a name tag or some form of identification. Security personal is welcome to attend, but we request that you let us know ahead of time. If anyone, especially security personnel, would like to speak at SummerCon please also let us know and we will schedule you in."

  • Summercon '87, St. Louis, MO (June 19-21, 1987)
  • Summercon '88, St. Louis, MO (July 22-24, 1988)
  • Summercon '89, St. Louis, MO (June 23-25, 1989)
  • Summercon '90, St. Louis, MO (June 22-24, 1990)
  • Summercon '91, St. Louis, MO (June 21-23, 1991) (Cyberview '91)
  • Summercon '92, St. Louis, MO (June 26-28, 1992)
  • Summercon '93, St. Louis, MO (June, 1993)
  • Summercon '95, Atlanta, GA (June 2-4, 1995)
  • Summercon '96, Washington, DC (June 15-16, 1996)
  • Summercon '97, Atlanta, GA (May 30-June 1, 1997)
  • Summercon X, Atlanta, GA (June 5-7, 1998)
  • Summercon 1999, Atlanta, GA (June 4-6, 1999)
  • Summercon 2k, Atlanta, GA (June 2-4, 2000)
  • Summercon 2001, Amsterdam (June 1-3, 2001)
  • Summercon 2002, Washington, DC (May 31-June 2, 2002)
  • Summercon 2003, Pittsburgh, PA (June 6-8, 2003)
  • Summercon 2004, Pittsburgh, PA (June 11-13, 2004)
  • Summercon 2005, Austin, TX (June 3-5, 2005)

PartyCon '87
Chicago, IL, July 24-26, 1987

PartyCon came only a few days after a major series of busts and shutdowns occurred nationwide, adding a pallor to its proceedings, but it happened anyway. Many attendees of Summercon 1987 made the trip to Chicago for PartyCon.

Galactic Hacking Party
1989

A series of outdoor hacking parties held in the Netherlands, administrated by the editors of the now defunct (as of 1993) hacking magazine HACK-TIC. Each conference/event has been given a different name.
  • Galactic Hacking Party, Amsterdam, Holland (August 2-4, 1989)
  • Hacking at the End of the Universe, Lelystad, The Netherlands, (August 4-6, 1993)
  • Hacking in Progress, Almere, The Netherlands (August 8-10, 1997)
  • Hackers at Large, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands (August 10-12, 2001)
  • What the Hack, Liempde, The Netherlands (July 28-31, 2005)

1990s

The Gathering (Demo Party)
Skedsmohallen, Lillestrom, Norway (April 15-19, 1992)

The Gathering became one of the first "super-parties" in Europe to be a full-on event, with over a thousand attendees, and lasting for the last 13 years (and continuing to the present).

One of the organizers, Vegard 'Shad' Skjefstad, describes the genesis of The Gathering in this way, in an interview with Lanparty.de:

"TG started out in 1992. TG's history dates back to 1991, when Crusaders, a very well-known Amiga demogroup where present at a lot of parties. CRS (Crusaders) where really the kind of people you don't want at your own party. CRS was obnoxious, very prone to complain a lot, create havoc (butter-wars, melted chocoloate in toilets, bun-throwing competitions etc). CRS was also very prone to winning competitions, bringing new and very obscure hardware never before seen, and being very interesting for every to watch.

"In 1991, CRS was at an event in Stockholm, Sweden, where amongst other demoed Tobias Richter's newest demoreel with Crusaders music to it. Since that party didn't have a music-compo, we complained, and complained until we got one. Of course, even as we won that compo, we complained about the quality of the speakersystem, the accent of the speaker and the colour of the curtains in the arena for the competition. So one of the Swedish guys gave us a hands-on challenge: "If you think you can do it better, go RIGHT ahead!"

"So we thought, this would be cool. Our own party. hmm...cool....we should make it the world's biggest, best and coolest ever. We tried to make it to summer 1991 (we started planning at Easter 1991), but soon figured that would be way to difficult. So as plans progressed, we decided to hold it at Easter 1992. It was held in Skedsmohallen, LillestrÝm, right outside Oslo, the capital of Norway.

"Having shiny, brassy balls, we aimed for 600 people the first time around, which would almost double the attendance of any other party so far. 1100 showed up. And we probably had the technical skills to handle 300 people. But it was GREAT GREAT fun, and we made it work somehow."

  • The Gathering 92, Skedsmohallen, Lillestrom, Norway (April 15-19, 1992)
  • The Gathering 93
  • The Gathering 94
  • The Gathering 95
  • The Gathering 96
  • The Gathering 97
  • The Gathering 98
  • The Gathering 99
  • The Gathering 00
  • The Gathering 01
  • The Gathering 02
  • The Gathering 03
  • The Gathering 04
  • The Gathering 05
  • The Gathering 06

Assembly Demo Party
Kauniainen, Finland, (July 24-26, 1992)

The largest and one of the longest-running Demoparties, now held in a stadium in Finland, with thousands of attendees. The first Assembly, held in 1992, had over 700 attendees.
  • Assembly 92, Kauniainen, Finalnd (July 24-26, 1992)
  • Assembly 93, Kerabva, Finland (1993)
  • Assembly 94
  • Assembly 95
  • Assembly 96
  • Assembly 97
  • Assembly 98
  • Assembly 99
  • Assembly 00
  • Assembly 01
  • Assembly 02
  • Assembly 03
  • Assembly 04
  • Assembly 05

DEF CON Convention
Las Vegas, NV, (June 9-11, 1993)

Held at the now-demolished Sands hotel, it has grown to one of the largest conferences of its kind, and tends to gain the most media coverage.
  • DEF CON I, June 9-11, 1993 (Sands Hotel and Casino)
  • DEF CON II, July 22-24, 1994 (Sahara Hotel and Casino)
  • DEF CON III, August 4-6, 1995 (Tropicana Hotel and Casino)
  • DEF CON IV, July 26-28, 1996 (Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino)
  • DEF CON V, July 11-13, 1997 (Aladdin Hotel and Casino)
  • DEF CON VI, July 31-August 2, 1998 (Plaza Hotel and Casino)
  • DEF CON VII, July 9-11, 1999 (Alexis Part Resort)
  • DEF CON VIII, July 28-30, 2000 (Alexis Park Resort)
  • DEF CON IX, July 13-15, 2001 (Alexis Park Resort)
  • DEF CON X, August 2-4, 2002 (Alexis Park Resort)
  • DEF CON XI, August 1-3, 2003 (Alexis Park Resort)
  • DEF CON XII, July 30-August 1, 2004 (Alexis Part Resort)
  • DEF CON XIII, July 29-31, 2005 (Alexis Park Resort)
  • DEF CON XIV, August 4-6, 2006 (Riviera Hotel and Casino) (Upcoming)

HOPE (Hackers On Planet Earth)
New York City, NY, 1994

The HOPE conferences are run by 2600 magazine, the 1984-founded hacker magazine. The first was timed to celebrate the 10th anniversary of 2600, with later parties being held between 2-4 years apart.
  • HOPE, New York City, NY (
  • Beyond HOPE, New York City, NY (August 8-10, 1997)
  • H2K, New York City, NY (2000
  • H2K2, New York City, NY (2002
  • H2K4, New York City, NY (2004
  • H2K6, New York City, NY 2006 (Upcoming)

CuervoCon
Fort Brown Hotel, Brownsville, TX (December 28-29, 1996)

From the original invitation: "A computer/telephony/security conference. (show this part to your boss.) It's winter, and it is 12 degrees outside. The dumpsters are frozen shut, and there are icicles on the payphones. Brownsville is at the Southern-most tip of Texas, right up against...Mexico. Yes, Mexico, land of cheap cerveza, four-dollar strippers, and liberal drinking laws. Mexico, where you too can own your very own Federal law enforcement official for a fistful of pesos......Brownsville is right on the Mexican border, adjacent to the Mexican town Matamoris. The Gulf of Mexico is 25 miles away. Brownsville has a population just over 100,000. The police force includes 175 officers, and a wide variety of federal law enforcement agencies have a strong presence there as well. The climate is semi-tropical, and the RBOC is SouthWestern Bell. Matamoris is the other half of brownsville. Home of over 1/2 a million people, it is known since the early 1900's as a pit of sin. The federale's are not to be fucked with and it is serviced by TelMex. It is known for its bars, strip clubs and mexican food. Matamoros also has an airport incase you live in Mexico and care to go, via aeromexico."
  • Cuervocon 96, Brownsville, TX (December 28-29, 1996)
  • Cuervocon 97, El Paso, TX (January 2-4, 1997)
  • Cuervocon 3, Brownsville, TX (January 2-3, 1999)
  • Cuervocon 2k, Laredo, TX (January 22-23, 2000)
  • Cuervocon 2001, Laredo, TX (January 26-28, 2001)
  • Cuervocon VI, Laredo, TX (March 28-30, 2003)

PhreakNIC
Nashville, TN, October 31-November 2, 1997

Phreaking Conference held in Nashville, Tennessee. The 8.0 description of the conference is "Originally started as a "hacker convention," it has since grown to include all things of interest to the technology minded individual. PhreakNIC is organized by the Nashville 2600 Organization and the Nashville Linux Users Group. There are technical presentations, cultural exhibits and panels, as well as plenty of socializing."
  • PhreakNIC 1.0, Nashville, TN (October 31-November 2, 1997)
  • PhreakNIC 2.0, Nashville, TN (October 30-November 1, 1998)
  • PhreakNIC 3.0, Nashville, TN (October 29-31, 1999)
  • PhreakNIC 4.0, Nashville, TN (November 3-5, 2000)
  • PhreakNIC 5.0, Nashville, TN (November 2-4, 2001)
  • PhreakNIC 6.0, Nashville, TN (November 1-3, 2002)
  • PhreakNIC 7.0, Nashville, TN (October 24-26, 2003)
  • PhreakNIC 8.0, Nashville, TN (October 22-24, 2004)
  • PhreakNIC 9.0, Nashville, TN (October 21-23, 2005)

Rubi-Con
Detroit, MI, 1998

  • Rubi-con, Detroit, MI (1998)
  • Rubi-Con 1999, Dearborn, MI (May 28-30, 1999)
  • Rubi-Con 2000, Detroit, MI (April 28-30, 2000)
  • Rubi-Con 2001, Dearborn, MI (April 6-8, 2001)
  • Rubi-Con 5, Dearborn, MI (April 5-7, 2002)

Rootfest
Minneapolis, MN, May 21-23, 1999

Lothos' description of Rootfest, from his website:

The goal of the conference was to bring hackers, computer security professionals, and law enforcement together under one roof for three days where all parties can learn about computer security, have open discussions with others in their field, and have fun. RootFest was the first event of its kind in the midwest, the first "underground" type event to have tickets through TicketMaster, and in 1999 we were the first to have a fully wireless connection, running from a dish on the convention center roof to a dish in downtown Minneapolis, supplying us with 45mbps internet. RootFest 99 was held in May 1999 at the Minneapolis Convention Center, and RootFest 2K was held in June 2000 at the RiverCenter in downtwn St. Paul, Minnesota.

Note from Jason: Not to discredit these claims, but there were a number of mid-west hacker conventions before Rootfest, albeit not with a particular invitation to security professionals to stop by until later years. There are always aspects of a convention that make it unique, so Rootfest certainly has a number of those.

  • Rootfest 99, Minneapolis, MN (May 21-23, 1999)
  • Rootfest 2K, Minneapolis, MN (June 14-16, 2000)

Wraithcon
Kent University, OH, July 31-August 1, 1999

Very little information about this convention exists, other than the intention to charge $5 for admission.

Canc0n (Cancelled)
Niagara Falls, ONT, Canada, 1999

The indication is that this convention, sponsored by HWA magazine, was scheduled, mentioned in various locations, and then cancelled. It is included in this list due to the wide mention.

2000 Onward

Hack in the Box
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 12-14, 2003

Held in both Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Manama, Bahrain. Formal name is HITBSecConf in promotion.
  • December 12-14, 2003, Kuala Lumpur, MY
  • October 6-7, 2004, Kuala Lumpur, MY
  • April 10-13, 2005, Manama, BH
  • September 5-9, 2005, Kuala Lumpur, MY

Notacon
Cleveland, OH, April, 2004

  • Notacon, April 2004
  • Notacon 2 (Notanothercon), April, 2005
  • Notacon 3, April 2006 (Upcoming)
Shmoocon
Washington, DC, February 4-6, 2005

"ShmooCon will be an all-new, annual East coast hacker convention hell-bent on offering an interesting and new atmosphere for demonstrating technology exploitation, inventive software & hardware solutions, as well as open discussion of critical information security issues. hmooCon will be thought provoking. Naturally, with one entire track dedicated to getting similar minds in one room to openly discuss interesting topics, and with each topic discussion being chaired by one or more intensely involved experts in that particular field, people who attend ShmooCon are bound to give the muscle between their ears a good workout. You see, that's a key goal of this conference--to get people thinking. Whether it's thinking about the future, thinking outside the box, thinking about where some of your freedom has run off to, or perhaps rethinking that uber-secure .gov architecture you just paid 5 million dollars to deploy that actually blows some serious swiss-cheese chunks--it's high time you contributed some CPU cycles to your own cause and future existence. And once you start thinking, or hell, maybe even before you start thinking, you can open your mouth and start gabbing with people that have the same concerns and interests as you. Get your two cents in, and pick up a lifetime's worth of experience and knowledge in return from the people around you.

"ShmooCon will be entertaining. We might not have DefCon debauchery, but we heavily stress the might part of that. Damn near anything could happen when nearly five hundred hackers descend upon the nation's capital. While the Winter chill is sure to keep most folks clothing on, the bar-crawls, club dancing, Hack-or-Halo tournament, Shmooball violence, and unsanctioned attempts at penetrating the 100+ .gov or Beltway Bandit wireless networks within 5 miles should make for quite an interesting time. We've even convinced the NFL to have the big game that weekend, so you and your buds can immediately follow up the convention watching terribly expensive and mind-numbing commercials while you try compiling all the cool code that was presented earlier in the day.

"ShmooCon will be affordable. As you can see, we're certainly not spending money on a web developer, but don't be fooled by our l33t html Fu, ShmooCon is about high-quality without the high price. If you wait to register until the last minute, oh yeah, you're going to pay out the ass--$250, in fact. However, if you're not a fed that has to wait until next fiscal year to get permission from your mommy, daddy, and Uncle Sam, and you positively know that you are going to ShmooCon, then we're down with that, as it were. And so is the cost--ShmooCon is $199 for anyone who registers before January 31, 2005! We recommend that feds wait until the last minute. Why? They can afford full price--have you seen your paycheck lately? Uncle Sam and cousin FICA could pay for ALL of us to go to ShmooCon, but nooooooo. Regardless, space IS limited, so register before the feds do."

  • Shmoocon 1 (February 4-6, 2005)
  • Shmoocon 2 (January 13-15, 2006)

Recon
2005

From the website: "REcon is a computer security conference being held in Montreal. The conference offers a single track of presentations over the span of three days."

REcon is unusual is that it offered a three-day course before and after the effect, stretching out the total "days" of the convention significantly. This same approach is planned for the 2006 conference, with a 7 day span.

  • Recon 2005, June 14-22, 2005
  • Recon 2006, June 13-21, 2006 (Upcoming)