Updated Version

DC 21-76: Defcon Survival Manual

  1. Can I really walk around for 3 days with liquor in my hand and no one will say anything?
  2. What happens to me if I fall asleep on the ground, or on a lounge chair by the pool?
  3. Is it ok to bring a parent, or legal guardian?
  4. Do you have to show your ID at anytime if you aren't buying liquor? (Other than the hotel check in)
  5. What is the fed to hacker ratio?
  6. What is the paranoia level at Defcon?
  7. Should I jump into the pool? Should I enter the pool after the first day at Defcon?
  8. What is a goon? What do they do? Why are they telling me to move out of the way?
  9. What happens if I am caught doing something dumb, plain stupid, illegal? Do you call the cops?
  10. Are there rent-a-cops at Defcon? Are they smart?
  11. Can I touch the girls walking around? Where do they come from?
  12. Why is priest so big? He scares me.
  13. Should I leave my stuff lying around? Or will it be sniped the minute I tie my bootlaces?
  14. Should I consider wearing anything other than black AND not be continuously fingered as a fed?
  15. Why is the pool purple? Why is the pool bubbly? Why are there naked people in the pool? Should I join them? Are those whales?
  16. I don't go out in the sun much, should I bring sunscreen?
  17. Why do people drink at Defcon?
  18. Will there ever be another strippercon?
  19. Will I get laid at Defcon?
  20. Should I bring anything "special" to Defcon?
  21. Should I bring my guns to Defcon?
  22. Should I bring my WaReZ to Defcon?
  23. Should I bring my computer to Defcon? I don't have a laptop just a big beast that needs wheels.
  24. What is a NOC? Why can't I go in there?
  25. What is FRS?
  26. Why should I be careful when walking near the pools?
  27. Should I let a bunch of people stay in my room that I have never met and probably will never see again? Can I really trust them?
  28. Are there sufficient outlets and network jacks for everyone?
  29. Can I take pictures/video footage at Defcon?
  30. Who do I tell if I see something bad going on?
  31. How should I set up my schedule for the ultimate Defcon trip?
  32. Why does no one seem to sleep at Defcon?
  33. Do we have to listen to the security guards telling us to get out of the pool at 4 am in the morning?
  34. What is a sharpie?
  35. What is a SW (scenewhore)?
  36. There are so many talks, which should I choose?
  37. How can I contribute to Defcon?
  38. I want to be someone's bitch, who do I ask?
  39. Why is no one talking to me?
  40. Where do a lot of people go at night?
  41. Why do I keep getting lost with the conference room names?
  42. Can i walk around Defcon with my gun on my cross-draw vest?
  43. Do you take checks, credit cards, paypal, promises?
  44. Should I bring food to eat at Defcon?
  45. Can i shoot things at random as long as they aren't people?
  46. What if i am too fat to skydive, should I still try? What if I am afraid of heights?
  47. Should I color my hair especially for Defcon?
  48. Should I bring my own water/beer/liquor?
  49. Should i walk around with knives, stun guns?
  50. Should I walk around with a pimproll of money?
  51. Should I use the ATM at the AP?
  52. Is there another ATM nearby?
  53. Someone just pushed me on the ground, what should I do?
  54. I like talking like a gangster but look more like a fool; will I be made fun of?
  55. How stupid do I have to get before I get my ass canned from Defcon for life? Will they really remember me the next year?
  56. I saw a piece of paper that says to do bad things at Defcon... should i do them?
  57. Why is there no pr0n at Defcon, I h4x0red the TV and no pr0n flicks!
  58. What is bawls?
  59. What is Redbull?
  60. Should I give people my boots if they ask for them and I never met them in my life?
  61. Why are there so many cool people at Defcon, yet i feel uncool?
  62. How many pieces of clothing should I bring to Defcon?
  63. Is Las Vegas hot in the summer?
  64. Why is everyone wearing black?
  65. Why don't the girls seem to like the boys?
  66. Why do the boys seem to like the boys?
  67. How do I reserve my room at the AP a year in advance?
  68. Do I have to know Linux at Defcon?
  69. Where can i get video footage of Defcon, I want to see if I can see myself?
  70. What is the Wall of Sheep?
  71. Why do the air conditioning units suck in the hotel?
  72. Is that big hairy guy in the vendor room corner really selling a MiG ejection seat?
  73. You say being an ACTIVE participant is the best to enjoy Defcon, what should I be active in if this is my first time?
  74. I keep hearing that Defcon is cancelled, is this true?
  75. What is Project Dark Room?
  76. I want to film a hacker documentary at Defcon, what do I have to do?
  77. Is Defcon Handicap accessible?
  78. I have something I want to donate as a prize for one of the contests who do I talk to?
  79. I want to volunteer to work at Defcon, whom do I talk to?
  80. Why are people wearing extra badges around their necks with a picture on them and their handle?
  81. How can I make a Defcon Avatar Badge?
  82. What kind of stuff should I bring to defcon?
  83. More specifically should I bring my laptop to Defcon?
  84. What's this "Forums Meet" people keep talking about?
  85. I've heard conflicting stories about Pool-Con; what exactly is it?
  86. What is Room Rushing?
  87. I have a question that the FAQ didn't answer. What do I do?








Q) Can I really walk around for 3 days with liquor in my hand and no one will say anything?


A) Of course, as long as you are over 21, since Defcon doesn't endorse underage drinking.

Q) What happens to me if I fall asleep on the ground, or on a lounge chair by the pool?


A) Best Case (Unlikely): You will go unnoticed, Medium Case: You will get tagged. Worst Case: Someone will steal the stuff right off you.

Q) Is it ok to bring a parent, or legal guardian?


A) If you're under 18, this is probably the BEST thing you can do. If you are over 18 bring them still, they may have fun too. The only downside here is that people may find your parents cooler to hangout with then you.

Q) Do you have to show your ID at anytime if you aren't buying liquor? (Other than the hotel check in)

A) No.

Q) What is the fed to hacker ratio?


A) Who said Fed's aren't hackers?

Q) What is the paranoia level at Defcon?


A) Depends on with whom you speak... Some are extremely paranoid at Defcon, and wear their tin foil hats around all day. Others are free and open about everything.

Q) Should I jump into the pool? Should I enter the pool after the first day at Defcon?


A) After the first day of Defcon, going into the pool is not recommended. However, if someone gives you the options of jumping in the pool or being thrown in - JUMP IN. Understand that Nine times out of ten they are NOT kidding.

Q) What is a goon? What do they do? Why are they telling me to move out of the way?


A) Goons are the Jack Booted Thugs of Defcon. They provide security (do it quite well) and run the different aspects of Defcon. If the Goons are telling you to move out of the way, DO IT. You are probably blocking something important (Like a manner of egress).

Q) What happens if I am caught doing something dumb, plain stupid, illegal? Do you call the cops?


A) It depends on your attitude.

Q) Are there rent-a-cops at Defcon? Are they smart?


A) The Alexis Park does have it's own security force that is present at Defcon. Some are smart, some aren't, but they all have the power to ruin your time there - so be nice.

Q) Can I touch the girls walking around? Where do they come from?


A) No, you can't touch the girls until you get some social skills. If you do, they will hurt you.

Q) Why is priest so big? He scares me.


A) Priest is big because he eats script kiddies for breakfast and washes them down with the blood of virgins (most of you). Priest is Bear. I give you this one and only rule in dealing with Priest... DO NOT POKE THE BEAR!

Q) Should I leave my stuff lying around? Or will it be sniped the minute I tie my bootlaces?


A) Never leave you stuff laying around unless you want it stolen. If you are staying at the AP leave most of your stuff in your room. If you're not staying at the AP, find someone you trust who is and leave it there. If you turn your back on your stuff for 10 Seconds it will most likely be gone when you turn around.

Q) Should I consider wearing anything other than black AND not be continuously fingered as a fed?


A) No. Apparently if you wear Khakis and a Banline shirt all the time people think you are a fed.

Q) Why is the pool purple? Why is the pool bubbly? Why are there naked people in the pool? Should I join them? Are those whales?


A) The pool is purple because purple is a cool color. The pool is bubbly because it's filled with Champaign (Go drink some). Do not join them... Yes, those are Whales.

Q) I don't go out in the sun much, should I bring sun lotion?


A) Yes, bring the highest SPF you can find. If you forget it, you might burst into flames like a vampire.

Q) Why do people drink at Defcon?


A) People drink at Defcon because they like to unwind and have fun with their friends.

Q) Will there ever be another strippercon?


A) You won't be invited, so don't worry about it.

Q) Will I get laid at Defcon?


A) No. You aren't cool, you smell bad, and you have zero social skills. No-one wants to know how k-rad and leet you are, even scenewhores turn their back in your presence.

Q) Should I bring anything "special" to Defcon?


A) Don't bring anything you don't need. Don't bring drugs. If you are caught with drugs you will be staying with LVPD for the remainder of your trip, and everyone will laugh at you.

Q) Should I bring my guns to Defcon?


A) If you are going to the DefconShoot, then bring your guns. If not, there is no reason to have them.

Q) Should I bring my WaReZ to Defcon?


A) No. Don't worry though, if you do bring it you still won't be cool.

Q) Should I bring my computer to Defcon? I don't have a laptop just a big beast that needs wheels.


A) Sure. But be warned, it might get damaged. Instead of bringing the computer, why not try socializing and leave the other 362 days a year for the computer.

Q) What is a NOC? Why can't I go in there?


A) The NOC (Network Operation Center) is where the behind the scenes of Defcon take place. You can't go there because you are not cool enough. If a Goon asks you to go there, and you know you are not cool, RUN! Chances are Priest is hungry and needs another script kiddie to snack on or virgin blood to drink.

Q) What is FRS?


A) Family Radio Service [http://www.provide.net/~prsg/frs-faq.htm]. It's what many people use to communicate at Defcon (see: Walkie Talkie).

Q) Why should I be careful when walking near the pools?


A) Because you may get pushed into the pool. If someone asks you to remove your tech - DO IT! Anything that would get ruined if it went into the pool should be taken off. This is a courtesy people may pay to you. If you don't remove it and attempt to argue with them instead, you will probably go in the pool WITH your tech on. Remember, there are probably a few people lurking around to push you in - more of them then there are of you and your kung fu ain't that good.

Q) Should I let a bunch of people stay in my room that I have never met and probably will never see again? Can I really trust them?


A) No. Best Case they will be cool (RARE!) Medium Case: They will probably steal stuff from you (Laptop, Wallet). Worst case: They will steal stuff from you (Virginity)...

Q) Are there sufficient outlets and network jacks for everyone?


A) There is never enough for EVERYONE, no matter how hard you try. But if your lucky you will get what you need (not always what you want). To be safe, if you are bringing electronics, pack a power strip.

Q) Can I take pictures/video footage at Defcon?


A) Sure. However, you need to becareful when you take pictures of random people. Often they get very upset about that and you may lose your Camera.

Q) Who do I tell if I see something bad going on?


A) Tell a Goon. Then buy the Goon a beer... Better yet, tell the Goon, then come and find me and buy me the beer.

Q) How should I set up my schedule for the ultimate Defcon trip?


A) This is very subjective. If depends on what you want to do exactly. The best piece of advice is this: Mingle. Don't sit behind your computer all day. Get out, talk with old friends and meet new ones. You can sit behind your computer at home. But it's not often you get to see all these people in one place.

Q) Why does no one seem to sleep at Defcon?


A) Sleep is for the weak. People want to make the most of their Defcon Experience and savor every moment, since it only comes around once a year.

Q) Do we have to listen to the security guards telling us to get out of the pool at 4 am in the morning?


A) Yes. Just remember, 4am is getting close to Breakfast (see: Feeding time) for Priest.

Q) What is a sharpie?


A) A sharpie is a type of writing instrument that people use to "Tag" others who inadvertently pass out.

Q) What is a SW (scenewhore)?


A) One who pretends to be interested in the same topics as everyone else just to be included in a group. The only people you MIGHT have sex with there... Don't count it though, you might not even be THAT cool.

Q) There are so many talks, which should I choose?


A) Which ever interests you the most. Remember you can always get the ones you missed later on via the Defcon Archives.

Q) How can I contribute to Defcon?


A) By being an ACTIVE Participant.

Q) I want to be someone's bitch, who do I ask?


A) I believe Siviak is running a Lackey Registry, email him at siviak(a)thecoreofsocialengineers(dot)com

Q) Why is no one talking to me?


A) Because you need better social skills, or you smell bad. Probably a combination of both.

Q) Where do a lot of people go at night?


A) Parties, Clubs, Bars.

Q) Why do I keep getting lost with the conference room names?


A) Because of all those drugs you did in High School.

Q) Can I walk around Defcon with my gun on my cross-draw vest?


A) No.

Q) Do you take checks, credit cards, paypal, promises?


A) CASH ONLY

Q) Should I bring food to eat at Defcon?


A) Yes. Go to the supermarket, it's cheaper then the Alexis Park food. "Any want to go down with me and get a Eight Dollar slice of pizza and a Six Dollar can of pepsi?"

Q) Can i shoot things at random as long as they aren't people?


A) No. Unless you enjoy: A) Going to jail (see:Assrape) or B) Getting Shot.

Q) What if i am too fat to skydive, should I still try? What if I am afraid of heights?


A) If you are too fat to skydive you should just watch from the ground. Even if you don't value your own life, value the lives of the people you may hit and flatten like twenty pancakes you just ate for dinner.

Q) Should I color my hair especially for Defcon?


A) Blue, color it Blue.

Q) Should I bring my own water/beer/liquor?


A) Yes, or you can walk down the block and by some from the Liquor Store/Super Market.

Q) Should i walk around with knives, stun guns?


A) Not unless you want to be a plaything for the goons.

Q) Should I walk around with a pimproll of money?


A) If you don't mind it getting taken right off your body.

Q) Should I use the ATM at the AP?


A) No.

Q) Is there another ATM nearby?


A) Yes, down the block.

Q) Someone just pushed me on the ground, what should I do?


A) Pray that they will not kick you while you are down.

Q) I like talking like a gangster but look more like a fool; will I be made fun of?


A) Yes. And then they will push you on the ground and kick you.

Q) How stupid do I have to get before I get my ass canned from Defcon for life? Will they really remember me the next year?


A) If you get caught doing something you know is wrong/illegal then you are stupid enough. Yes, they will remember you and your picture will go in a national database for Facial Recognition.

Q) I saw a piece of paper that says to do bad things at Defcon... should i do them?


A) Not unless you enjoy being a Goon's Bitch.

Q) Why is there no pr0n at Defcon, I h4x0red the TV and no pr0n flicks!


A) Look out your window, there will probably be some pr0n esc action going on.

Q) What is bawls?


A) Bawls is an energy drink (http://www.bawls.com) that taste good in your mouth. Whenever you are going to buy some more, make sure you say to the person you are buying them from: "I love the way bawls taste in my mouth".

Q) What is Redbull?


A) Redbull is any energy drink, best served with alcohol (if you're 21 or over).

Q) Should I give people my boots if they ask for them and I never met them in my life?


A) Only if you never want to see your boots again.

Q) Why are there so many cool people at Defcon, yet i feel uncool?


A) Because you are uncool.

Q) How many pieces of clothing should I bring to Defcon?


A) Four

Q) Is Las Vegas hot in the summer?


A) Like a Jalapeno Pepper

Q) Why is everyone wearing black?


A) So they can blend it, and not be mistaken for a fed.

Q) Why don't the girls seem to like the boys?


A) Because most of the boys are uncool.

Q) Why do the boys seem to like the boys?


A) Because Hizzle is the devil.

Q) Do I have to know Linux at Defcon?


A) No. And even if you do, you will still probably be uncool.

Q) Where can i get video footage of Defcon, I want to see if I can see myself?


A) http://www.defcon.org/html/links/defcon-media-archives.html

Q) What is the Wall of Sheep?


A) "A Defcon tradition is the Wall of Sheep, which shows the usernames, IP addresses or hostnames, and protocol used by people who got their passwords sniffed while using the wireless network. POP was a protocol commonly seen on the Wall; but HTTP and ICQ put in a disrespectable showing as well. Do people not realize these are plain-text protocols? By Sunday there were over 500 sheep, and Telnet had become quite popular among them. I can only assume the weirdoes who would use Telnet -- at a hacker conference, no less -- are the same weirdoes who would use Windows -- at a hacker conference, no less." - From: http://chris.nodewarrior.org/reviews/DefCon11/FunnyStuff.html

Q) Why do the air conditioning units suck in the hotel?


A) Because it's Las Vegas and the AP wants you to purchase water from them... It's all about the buck.

Q) Is that big hairy guy in the vendor room corner really selling a MiG ejection seat?


A) Yes

Q) You say being an ACTIVE participant is the best to enjoy Defcon, what should I be active in if this is my first time?


A) If this is your first time coming to Defcon let me be the first to welcome you. First off, don't be a fucktard/asshat (see above). Secondly, when I mentioned "Active" it means actually doing things. Being as how this is your first Con there is nothing that says you can participate in the Scavenger hunt or other competitions. Go to the Black and White Ball, buy some liquor/beer and strike up a conversation with someone. Go to talks and broaden your knowledge. Remember, Defcon only lasts three days (A few more for the dedicated) and you don't want to leave the Alexis Park wishing you had done more. Defcon is the Hacking Community at it's best and sometimes worst, but to be a truly active participant you must move to make yourself part of that community.

Q) I keep hearing that Defcon is cancelled, is this true?


A) No, It is not true. However, if you are stupid and believe it, maybe you shouldn't come.

Q) What is Project Dark Room?


A) The idea is to create an unofficial DVD of Defcon, for Defcon. Once the item is created, each participant (i.e.: media contribution, mirror hosting, worker bee) gets a copy of the product. The product would include Defcon pictures, artwork, music, and video, anything about the conference. The idea is to make a raw presentation of the conference (NOT ANOTHER HACKER DOCUMENTERY!)

Q) I want to film a hacker documentary at Defcon, what do I have to do?


A) First lets get something clear: You are NOT the first person to come up with this idea and you probably won't be the last. If you still want to do it, contact press@defcon.org and pitch them your idea. Just make sure you follow the rules for the press and becareful where you point your camera.

Q) Is Defcon Handicap accessible?


A) The entire con area is located on the ground floor, which is completely wheelchair-accessible. Within the vendor area there is good room to maneuver a wheelchair, but people milling around will obviously cut down on this: the same goes for common areas such as the lobby, bar, and around the pools. Rooms are accessible, but only if you request one on the ground floor as there is no elevator access to the upper level.

Q)I have something I want to donate as a prize for one of the contests who do I talk to?


A) Send an Email to Chris(a)Defcon(dot)org or find him in the vendor area if it's during the Con. You may always want to talk to Grifter if you have some cool stuff Grifter(a)defcon(dot)org for the scavenger hunt.

Q) I want to volunteer to work at Defcon, whom do I talk to?


A) Ask one of the various members of the Defcon Board.

Q) Why are people wearing extra badges around their necks with a picture on them and their handle?


A) In attempting to find a way to locate other Defcon Forum members and look cool at the same time, the idea finally came up that an Avatar Badge (i.e.: the Avatar you use on the forums) should be made.

Q) How can I make a Defcon Avatar Badge?


A) Blackwave wrote a good Howto about it, which can be found here: http://www.irvineunderground.org/blackwave/blackwaves-defcon-avatar-badge-howto.htm

Q) What kind of stuff should I bring to defcon (1)? What stuff should I leave at home (2)(3)?


A) 1) Kinds of stuff to bring, may include: Shorts, T-Shirts, Underwear, Socks (if you're not a hippy), Shoes/Sandals, Cash (at least 200USD), Sun Block (if you don't get out much), Camera, Radio (FRS), Sunglasses, Bathroom Kit/Toiletries (Toothbrush, meds, Shaving Kit, etc.), Stuff to trade (Swag), Deodorant (This could be included in the Bathroom kit, but lets make a SPECIAL note of bringing it), First Aid Kit (Band-Aids, Rubbing Alcohol, etc.), Avatar Badge.

2) If this is your first time at Defcon, chances are you will bring a lot of shit that you don't need. After your first year you can decide what you actually used and what you want to leave at home. However, don't bring anything too expensive. It may A) Get lost (see: stolen) or B) Get thrown into the pool with you attached.

3) Stuff not to bring: Drugs, illegal weapons.

Q) More specifically should I bring my laptop to Defcon?


A) I'll give you three peoples quotes and let you decide:
"I dunno. I bring my laptop every year, and every year I end up leaving it off for most of Defcon. I dont think I will even bother with it this year." - Noid

"It all really depends on what you plan on doing at defcon.... if you foresee long hours of diddling around, surfing on the net during slow periods, checking your email (baaahh), wardriving, checking out the uberl33t defcon cd, wanking to pr0n in your room (beats the non-pr0n they won't be serving at the AP)...
Though if you just plan on carrying around a heavy piece of junk just to fit in leave it at home, or in your room... no need to dress to impress... it is too damned hot to walk around with something weighing you down.... whatever you do, don't leave it in the corner recharging and expect it to be there when you get back (sigh yes there are still "opportunists" that lurk around)..." - Blackwave

"DEFINITELY!! Bring it!! You can take notes, participate in the note exchange, get on either the wired or wireless LAN, exchange files, try out new OS's, work on your existing system... or just geek out with like minded individuals." - Octalpussy

Q) What's this "Forums Meet" people keep talking about?


A) The "Forums Meet" is where people who participate (or lurk) in the Defcon Forums meet up at the event. It gives everyone the opportunity to put faces to names, and hangout with people in real life that you hangout with online, but may have never met.

Q) I've heard conflicting stories about Pool-Con; what exactly is it?


A) PoolCon is an after party of Defcon. It takes place on Sunday and runs all night. People who are leaving Defcon on Sunday usually leave any extra alcohol by Pool 3 before they are on their way and that is what fuels the event. In years past it was usually a chill event, but after some assholes came to PoolCon at DefconXI it didn't turn out to be. If you're planning to go to Poolcon, keep this in mind: It's a time to relax and chill after the Con is over, if you gunna be an asshole, just go home instead.

Q) What is room rushing?


A) Room Rushing

Q) I have a question that the FAQ didn't answer. What do I do?


A) Send an email to: FAQ(a)stotan(dot)org. With "Defcon-FAQ" in the Subject line.


Last Updated: June 28, 2004