Black Hat and DEF CON are two seminal cybersecurity and hacker events that showcase the latest devices and capabilities in the field each year. Of course, their notoriety has led to each show becoming a prime target for attackers.

Before attending these events next month, take the time to think about the security of your own devices to avoid any potential nasty surprises before, during and after the conferences.

The following tips will help ensure that you have a trouble-free conference experience. Bear in mind – that all these points represent good cyber-hygiene at any time and should equally apply to your everyday use of such devices if you wish to protect them against compromise or data loss.

  1. Ensure all your devices’ software and firmware is up-to-date – this will help you avoid known exploits. Don’t forget to update your phone’s OS, too.
  2. Make sure you set up two-factor authentication (2FA) on all the devices you use.
  3. Delete all insecure WiFi hotspots stored on your device(s) to avoid unwanted connections. Neglecting to do this is an easy way to have your data stolen.
  4. Turn on disk encryption (if you aren’t already using it), and ensure your firewall is active.
  5. Fully charge your devices away from the conference location and carry backup charge devices if necessary. You should avoid having to plug into anything at or near the conference locations.
  6. Don’t connect to any WiFi hotspots unless you know you can trust it. Use your own hotspot if there’s any doubt.
  7. If you must use WiFi, only do so using a VPN.
  8. When your devices are not being used ensure any WiFi, Bluetooth or file-sharing capabilities are switched OFF.
  9. Protect your bank cards by leaving them in a secure location or by using an RFID-shielded wallet. Cards, employee badges and passports are all easily scanned and compromised. Using cash is the preferred option.
  10. If you do bring bank cards, be wary of using ATM’s. Skimming devices have been found.
  11. Never use discarded or free USB memory sticks. This is an easy way to infect your devices.
  12. If you’re really worried about the security of your smartphone and it’s a realistic option for you, pick up a cheap phone to use at the conference that you can discard afterward.
  13. Lastly, after leaving these conferences, change the passwords on all the devices you took with you and on any of the applications you used.

Following this advice will give you the best chance of exiting these events without compromise.

We wish you all a fulfilling and enriching experience in Las Vegas, but most of all, a safe one!

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