Defcon badges - designed to be hacked
Most badges from conferences and trade shows end up in the trash. Not so the badges from the Defcon security show, which are stylized, mysterious, and highly customized electronics equipment designed to be hacked.
Instead, they end up as collector's items. Bidding on eBay for a Defcon 17 badge from last weekend had reached $81 on Tuesday with three days to go, while a 2007 badge was at $33.99.
The Defcon badges and badge hacking contest, both highly anticipated at the conference each summer, not only give the hackers a mental challenge to figure out what the devices are capable of doing, but they serve as tools for participants to demonstrate their talent at coming up with innovative hacks. "Each year we push the limits of printed circuit board design techniques and try to show off devices and technologies attendees might not have seen before," Joe "Kingpin" Grand, who has designed the Defcon badges for the past four years, said in an interview on Tuesday. "We are doing things on circuit boards now that clearly have never been done before."