Hackers from across the globe meet in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS — For the last 25 years, hackers across the globe have descended on Las Vegas for the hacking conference, DEF CON.

The event is not only attended by hackers, but security researchers, law enforcement officers, government officials and companies looking for the best way to secure the connected world.

The event includes talks, demonstrations and "villages" where attendees get hands-on experience.

The car manufacturer Mazda took center stage in Car Hacking Village, for hackers to try their hand at finding flaws.


“We have to look at cybersecurity as cybersafety,” explained Jennifer Tisdale with Mazda. “So it is the new safety feature of the connected vehicle.”

She said giving people this opportunity is vital as the connected world continues.

“A lot of our research and development -- both at Mazda and industrywide -- is designed to address security issues from the front end and to do so collaboratively with our research community,” Tisdale said.

Bryson Bort agreed that hands-on experience is key for the security community. That’s why his cybersecurity company, Grimm, brought the electronic guts of a 2012 Ford Focus to DEF CON.

“You don’t have to get your own car pieces, you don’t have to get your own parts, you don’t have to figure out -- if you’ve never hacked a car before or worked with that -- what kinds of tools, what kinds of things do I need to do to get started,” Bort said.

Researchers who attend the conference told us the knowledge gained here impacts every consumer.

“We get to hear about all the cool new problems that we might not have heard about otherwise,” explained Joshua Marpet, CEO of the cybersecurity company Red Lion.

“Then we disseminate that information through popular media, through magazines, through patches to your operating systems, programs, your applications, so you are protected sometimes without even knowing that we’ve worked together to make that protection happen,” he said.