Visitors to Las Vegas beware - the Defcon hacker conference is underway. That means Sin City is full of security specialists, hackers and other computer professionals looking to break into your computer or smartphone.
Hacking is like a sport at these events. The main goal is to hack other hackers, but other hotel visitors are just seen as collateral damage, so you're information could be at risk.
To avoid being hacked, turn off Wi-Fi and data on your gadget. Also, don't use the hotel Wi-Fi on your laptop, and make sure to avoid hotel ATMs to protect your credit card information. This might seem like overkill, but when you gather many of the world's hackers in one place, healthy caution is necessary.
He and his friends also add some pointers to the advice I've already received: don't send any text messages you don’t want someone to read. Don't open any links in text messages, even if they come from people you know. One of the cohort, I'm informed, had already received a text from her husband that contained a link with a virus.
Luckily, you probably don't have to worry about losing your identity or thousands of dollars if you're hacked. Most of the people attending Defcon are "Whitehats," or the good guys in the hacking community. They're hacking spree is more like a practical joke than a serious identity theft risk. They do it to prank other hackers and show the rest of us that we need to take digital security seriously.
The point is not to steal people’s identities, just to scare them, to warn them, and maybe have a little fun at their expense. Hey, their victims might even learn something about security too.
But, that doesn't mean there isn't a few bad apples out there, too. That's why you should follow those rules I listed above and make sure your computers and gadgets are secure. If you're visiting Las Vegas, head over to my Security Center to protect your information.