What is a "hacker"? Over the years the media has twisted the meaning, so that today it is widely used to describe cyber criminals and is full of negative connotations. However, the term was first used within the technology industry in reference to a special breed of inventors and engineers. These engineers, inventors, technicians, and specialists were singular in that they 'creatively' approached problems. Basically, they attempted to solve problems through technology in ways that were not intended.
At the DEFCON conference, you constantly hear that we are all hackers. Being a hacker does not require a specific skill level or lack of concern for the law, but rather a desire to learn and to make the most of what is given to us - to think outside the box, so to speak. Almost everyone there embodies the hacker spirit, which is evident by the numerous competitions and villages that are open to all. The competitions are designed to force participants to expand their minds and think in unconventional ways, while villages allow participants to come together and learn how to use unique skills such as soldering or lock picking. Attendees with more experience in a specific skillset are often seen assisting beginners.
Overall, the entire DEFCON conference turned out to be an amazing experience. The True interns only wished we had more time, as it was impossible to fit everything we wanted to see and do in one weekend. We are definitely looking forward to future conferences and getting more involved as we broaden our skill sets and seek to approach problems from an ethical hacker perspective.