ArcticCon, highlighted by IT experts and hands-on demos, attracts hundreds to downtown Anchorage

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Anchorage-based ArcticCon - Alaska's lone information technology convention, organized and founded by Matt Peters - attracted hundreds to downtown Anchorage Thursday.

"When you come here, you actually get to put (things) into practice," Peters said. "If you bring malware here? Oh, we're happy to see it, because we're going to light it off against an antivirus - or any antivirus."

Peters, of ThreatInformant, said Thursday that while Alaska is often behind in most aspects of tech, ArcticCon helps provide more advanced technical information to attendants. While there are vendor booths and presentations from some companies interested in sales, the overarching theme is to bring together people from across the community to talk IT via presentations and demonstrations in which attendees can participate.

"We're basically having a community that's getting smarter with us," Peters said.

Some of the hands-on 'villages,' as they've been dubbed, include a lock-picking demonstration, a web app development mini-course and a wireless network breaching demo.

"We have these shims that are used for combination locks," Peters said, cracking a lock open at one of the demo booths. A safe could be opened with a strong magnet.

Some people question why this type of information might be shared, Peters said, but the purpose is to help, not harm: Know what to look for in terms of weakened security, both digital and physical.

"I'm not actually that smart, but I asked a lot of questions," one attendee said. "I actually have a battery here and underneath here to run a chain link of all these wires and give each of these lights their cool unique power and look."

Peters said he hopes ArcticCon will happen not just once but twice in 2019.