writing

Datadog guide to Hacker Summer Camp 2023

August 7, 2023

It’s summer camp time again! Hacker Summer Camp is back August 5–16 in Las Vegas, and in case you missed our guide from last year, we like to put together an annual list of tips, best practices, and events to attend so you can make the most out of your time at camp. Much of the same guidance still applies with regard to planning, packing lists, and security best practices, so be sure to check out our full v1 of the guide here.

For the purpose of this article, we include the following events in our definition of Hacker Summer Camp:

  • BlackHat USA (including BlackHat Arsenal), where new industry research is showcased for the global security community
  • BSides Las Vegas, your standard community BSides event for security practitioners to share knowledge and peer insights (highly recommended for first-time attendees and anyone on a budget)
  • The Diana Initiative, an inclusive-by-design conference focused on underrepresented groups in security
  • DEF CON + DEF CON Villages, a massive conference spanning a variety of offensive and defensive domains over four days (includes everything from hacking cars to securing the cloud)
    BSides Las Vegas, your standard community BSides event for security practitioners to share knowledge and peer insights (highly recommended for first-time attendees and anyone on a budget)
    The Diana Initiative, an inclusive-by-design conference focused on underrepresented groups in security
    DEF CON + DEF CON Villages, a massive conference spanning a variety of offensive and defensive domains over four days (includes everything from hacking cars to securing the cloud)

What’s new?

Each conference makes changes every year to provide the very best experience for attendees, so let’s get started and take a look at what’s new this year.

BlackHat USA, August 5–10

BlackHat returns to Mandalay Bay for another year of training, briefings, Arsenal, and an expo hall over six days. Briefings and the main conference are on August 9 and 10. Can’t afford a ticket but want to shop at the expo hall? You can still buy an expo only pass on site for $650. Notably there is also a free virtual-only option for anyone that can’t attend live, which is a great value as it includes Arsenal access and a virtual expo hall to interact with vendors.

The Diana Initiative, August 7

The Diana Initiative kicks off the week completely separate from DEF CON. The event historically, like many events, has had overlap with several other summer camp conferences, but this year attendees can delight in being able to attend Diana in addition to another conference in the week without popping between venues.

BSides Las Vegas, August 8–9

As per usual BSidesLV returns to the historic Tuscany hotel. Tickets have been sold out for months with the exception of the highest donor tiers. However, this year you’ll be able to stream sessions you want to attend for all tracks. This is a huge win for interested conference goers who couldn’t score a ticket or waited until the last minute.

DEF CON, August 10–13

DEF CON is back at all the same venues as last year: Caesars Forum, Flamingo, Harrah’s, and Linq Hotels. The biggest notable change from last year is they have gone back to cash-based registration and will no longer be doing pre-registration. The price is $440 cash on-site, so be sure to show up early and stand in line with friends. See the preview trailer for DEF CON 31 here.

General reminder that DEF CON Villages can have incredibly long lines. Should you intend to attend any of these great presentations, be sure to show up one or two session slots early and join the line. Attending live can take a long time but meeting presenters and asking questions is often worth the wait.

Datadog Talks

Many of our great engineers from Datadog will be speaking at events across Hacker Summer Camp:

August 9 @ 10:00AM PST: Eslam Salem kicks off the week with a demo HASH, a tool released by the Datadog Security Labs team, at BlackHat Arsenal. Released earlier in 2023, HASH seeks to automate away some of the maintenance work for creating various HTTP honeypots to gather data about your potential adversaries.

August 10 @ 2:30PM PST: Nick Frichette presents at BlackHat USA, “Evading Logging in the Cloud: Bypassing AWS CloudTrail”. This is a presentation not to miss if you’re interested in just how Datadog thinks about the automation of security research at scale for hunting bugs in cloud service provider technologies.

August 11 @ 10:50AM PST: Nick Frichette again delivers his presentation “Evading Logging in the Cloud: Bypassing AWS CloudTrail” at the DEF CON Cloud Village. If you missed BlackHat or couldn’t attend, here is another chance to catch this cutting edge research live and meet Nick.

August 12 @ 4:10PM PST: Nathan Case speaks in the DEF CON BioHacking Village. Case will review some of the worst security incidents involving laboratory equipment and other industrial controls. Don’t miss this session if you have an interest in nation-state-level threats.

August 13 @ 11:00AM PST: Nielet D’mello shares thoughts on threat modeling-based application security pipelines at the DEF CON AppSec Village. Threat modeling has traditionally been a core part of application security strategies but has often been viewed as overly “heavy” in practice. Observability tools have been a game changer for assessing risk and accelerating threat models.

August 13 @ 9:30AM PST: Emile-Hugo Spir and Emmanuelle Lejeail speak at the DEF CON AppSec Village on how to reduce false positives in your web application firewalls by changing the way you think about detection rules.

Post card of Datadog's speaking
Post card of Datadog's speaking

Check out the complete schedule for updates on where to find Datadog sessions by downloading a printable PDF of these fantastic talks and where to find them.

See you at camp

We'd love to meet YOU. We’re always happy to make friends in the community, so should you see any of our purple shirts in the hallway or recognize us please do say hello.

See you at Hacker Summer Camp, and check back here in just a couple of weeks for our recap post on everything we saw on-site.

Related Content