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As I do every year, I’ve deliberately traveled to the most inhospitable climate zone in the continental US — that is, the city of Las Vegas — to attend the elite technical conference known as the Black Hat Briefings.

Black Hat is not just a technical conference, but a kind of calling for its attendees, which brings together experts in computer security, privacy, and attacks with high level officials in government and industry. In this rarefied environment, the security industry and its benefactors share information, tools, and techniques that help the entire industry coordinate their work against the interests of criminals, spies, and the vast numbers of Internet ne’er-do-wells.

I’ll be reporting from the conference about cool tools, new information about attacks, and deep analysis of malware all week. On Friday, the conference switches gears to become Defcon, which is a little less formal, a little less businesslike, and a lot more chaotic and interesting. Stay with us this week as we cover the most interesting conference in the security world.

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