This week, two major computer security and hacker conferences will be taking place in Las Vegas, Nev., the Associated Press reports via Forbes.com.Black Hat, running from Wednesday to Thursday, and Defcon, from Friday to Sunday, will host representatives from major computer corporations such as Microsoft and Cisco, government agencies such as the FBI,\u00a0and assorted bands of hackers, researchers, underground computer networkers and cyber hobbyists, the AP reports.According to the AP, the Black Hat conference has more of a university feel, while Defcon thrives on chaos. Regardless, the insatiable curiosity of the participants never fails to keep attendees on their toes so that they don\u2019t fall victim to hacks and pranks.The article states that in past years, pay phones have disappeared, TV billing systems and hotel networks have been hacked, ATMs were shanghaied, pools were dyed unusual colors, a wall of shame listed those with unsecured computers, fake wireless networks masked official ones, and a general sense of security went out the window."I lost a real sense of security," Bo Holland, the founder of several startups that work with large financial services companies, and who had long assumed ATM networks were invulnerable, told the AP. "I came away with a real appreciation for the powers these hackers had developed."The big news this year, according to the AP, is that two researchers will demonstrate ways to hijack some of the most popular brands of laptop computers by exploiting a flaw in their wireless connections. This is reported to possibly build on tensions between hacker activism and corporate interests\u00a0that were fueled last year when Cisco Systems tried to stop researcher Michael Lynn from speaking about a vulnerability that he said could let hackers virtually shut down the Internet. The company managed to get the documented flaw torn out of all 2,000 conference binders, but they were unable to stop his presentation.The article states that a third researcher plans to demonstrate software that can drop undetectable programs for snooping into computers running Windows Vista.Yet companies are starting to embrace these cyber-upstarts, and Microsoft has scheduled a day of talks on new ways to secure its products and to embrace feedback, while a Cisco executive is going to sit on a panel that includes people who have criticized the company in the past.Adam Laurie, chief security officer of Thebunker.com, a United Kingdom-based site for storing sensitive information, told the AP that these conferences have opened the lines of communication between users and software and hardware manufacturers."We are having this stuff forced upon us, and you can\u2019t choose not to have it," Laurie, who goes by "Major Malfunction," told the AP. "If they don\u2019t do it properly, that puts me at risk." Compiled by Paul KersteinRelated links:\u2022 Interview: An Ethical Hacker Protects the World Cup Network\u2022 How a Bookmaker and a Whiz Kid Took On an Extortionist\u2014and Won\u2022 Hackers Using Open Source TechniquesKeep checking in at our Security Feed for updated news coverage.