For Hackers, Anonymity Was Once Critical. That’s Changing.

At Defcon, one of the world’s largest hacking conferences, new pressures are reshaping the community’s attitudes toward privacy and anonymity.

LAS VEGAS — Ask any hacker who’s been around long enough, and there’s a good chance you’ll hear an archetypal story, tinged with regret, about the first time his or her real identity was publicly disclosed.

After enjoying years of online anonymity, the hacker known as Grifter was unmasked by a less-than-scrupulous spouse. “Hey, Neil!” his wife called out at him, absent-mindedly, from across a crowded room, while accompanying him (for the very first time) at a hacking conference. “My beautiful wife, she outed me in front of the entire hacker community,” he said with a laugh.

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