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This is part of our  about how innovators are thinking up new ways to make you — and darkmarket list the world around you — smarter. 

"Are you a hacker?"

A Las Vegas driver asks me this after I tell him I'm headed to Defcon at Caesars Palace. I wonder if his sweat isn't just from the 110℉ heat blasting the city.

All week, a cloud of paranoia looms over Las Vegas, as hackers from around the world swarm Sin City for Black Hat and Defcon, two back-to-back cybersecurity conferences taking place in the last week of July. At Caesars Palace, where Defcon is celebrating its 25th anniversary, the UPS store posts a sign telling guests it won't accept printing requests from USB thumb drives. You can't be too careful with all those hackers in town.


Aaron Robinson/CNET

Everywhere I walk I see hackers — in tin-foiled fedoras, wearing biker vests for the Telephreak Defcon party. Mike Spicer, dark web sites darknet market link a security researcher, carries a 4-foot-high backpack holding a "Wi-Fi cactus." Think wires, antennas, colored lights and 25 Wi-Fi scanners that, dark web market links in seven hours, captured 75 gigabytes of data from anyone foolish enough to use public Wi-Fi. I see a woman thank him for holding the door open for her, all while his backpack sniffs for unencrypted passwords and personal information it can grab literally out of thin air.

You'd think that, with all the potential threats literally walking about town, Vegas' director of technology and innovation, Mike Sherwood, would be stressed out. It's his job to protect thousands of smart sensors around the city that could jam traffic, blast water through pipes or cause a blackout if anything goes haywire.

And yet he's sitting right in front of me at Black Hat, smiling.

His entire three-person team, in fact, is at Black Hat so they can learn how to stave off future attacks. Machine learning is guarding Las Vegas' network for them.

Broadly speaking, artificial intelligence refers to machines carrying out jobs that we would consider smart. Machine learning is a subset of AI in which computers learn and adapt for themselves.

Now a number of cybersecurity companies are turning to machine learning in an attempt to stay one step ahead of professionals working to steal industrial secrets, disrupt national infrastructures, hold computer networks for ransom and even influence elections. Las Vegas, dark market list which relies on machine learning to keep the bad guys out, offers a glimpse into a future when more of us will turn to our AI overlords for protection.

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