Hackers holiday

By Mary Lisbeth d'Amico, Computer World |  Security

Hackers looking to get away from it all and at the same time hone their skills will be setting up tents in a field near Berlin next week as part of a three-day event sponsored by Germany's premiere hacker group, the Chaos Computer Club (CCC).

"Nerds, hackers and phreaks from around the world," as CCC calls them, are gathering Aug. 6-8 in Altlandsberg, where they will split their time between partying, bathing in a nearby lake and engaging in contests that test their hacking prowess.

Pre-registration is already closed for the event, according to the CCC Web site, but those that want to show up with 150 marks ($82) can try their luck. The grounds can comfortably fit between 1,500 and 2,000 people.

The camp will be divided into theme "villages," where participants can choose the topic that most interests them. The camp includes villages for lock-picking (learn about breaking into somewhere without destroying it), Art & Beauty (such as graphics and music), re-engineering (for example, chip cards) and cryptography.

Participants so inclined can also propose their own topics to the event's sponsors. A typical event will be the Linux Deathmatch, a real-time hacking competition where teams of one to three players will try to hack one another. One group has also announced a "Hack the NT" contest, and the lock-pickers project is even eyeing "underwater lock-picking in the lake nearby."

CCC is providing "electricity and Ethernet for every tent, and on-site facilities for food and drinks." A special network will be set up for the event so users can practice and hook up to the Net. The event will be held mainly in English.

Although press is allowed, reporters will have to be on their best behavior. Members of the press must pay like everyone else, must wear a badge clearly identifying themselves, may not take pictures and may only quote those who consent to be interviewed.

Business visitors -- defined as anyone who is "rich or working for a company or government that wants you at the Camp because there is a lot to learn or you have a certain commercial interest" -- are asked to pay 1,500 marks. Spaces still appear to exist for that type of participant.

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