The last week in July is always one to look forward to, as that's when security professionals and hackers gather in Las Vegas for the annual Black Hat Briefings held in recent years at Caesar's Palace and its "sister" conference, Defcon, which will be at the Rio again. Although many of the attendees are the same, the two gatherings have very different atmospheres.
Black Hat caters more to corporate security, law enforcement and government agencies and the like and has hosted speakers who were high in the ranks of the federal administrations and well-known industry experts. Microsoft, IBM and other major tech companies are sustaining sponsors. It costs a minimum of $1500 to get in (over $2000 if you waited until today to register).
Defcon is a lot more informal, and many of its speakers and attendees are known only by their hacker handles. Registration costs $200, paid in cash at the door (or $150 pre-paid along with your Black Hat registration). It's a lot more fun, with hacking games and short story and art contests, but there is plenty of serious information imparted, with some creative topics that you might not have even thought about before.
I'll be there on the front lines again this year, and will be reporting back on what I learn. It's not too late to sign up (and if you're short on funds, you can go to Defcon without going to Black Hat).