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Preview The bill has been finalised for DEFCON, the largest hacker gathering in the world, which kicks off this weekend. In between frightening the locals, strong-arming the one-arm bandits and defacing each other's websites conference delegates can look forward to an interesting array of talks.

Highlights include a session on quantum hacking, a presentation about cracking the CIA’s Kryptos Sculpture (an artwork containing encoded messages which lives in a courtyard at CIA Headquarters) and another on home-brew mind machines (is Professor Charles Xavier in attendance?). Electronic Voting vulnerabilities promise to be a key topic at the conference. There'll also be a meet the Feds panel session ,along with presentations on censorship resistance and by Musicians Against The Recording Industry. A talk entitled Sniffing Wireless Credit Card Transactions caught our eye, as did Encrypted Email for Grandma, evidence that there's something for all age groups at DEFCON 12.

Organisers promise this year’s event will "debut more new technical material than ever before..significant exploits will be revealed, new freeware releases will be demonstrated, and new research will be presented." The full agenda is here.

Previous DEFCON conventions have witnessed the arrest of Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov, the release of hacking tools by the Cult of the Dead Cow, controversy, controversy and more controversy. Hopes are high that this year's event will be equally entertaining.

DEFCON 12 takes place at the Alexis Park in Las Vegas between 30 July and 1 August. Around 5,000 people are expected to attend, including friends of El Reg who have promised to fill us in on events. ®

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