This past weekend (May 17-19), the hacker group in my local area HackMiami had their first conference, HackMiami 2013 and I attended. While not a member of the group, I have heard of them, and we've had them help out with some of our South Florida ISSA events. This is not an underground group. Most of the members actually work with/for many local IT security companies.
This was a hacker conference, which is a little different from a traditional IT Security conference. Some of the stuff done is a bit out there, there is expectation that the audience is more technical, and some sessions were more hands on then in most Security conferences.
Overall, the conference was pretty good. They organized 3 tracks, "old headz", "new headz", and "moral headz", giving a mix of sessions to attend. In addition, instead of a vendor area (which would have been nice), they had an events lounge area with various booths. Some of the booths they had was lockpicking, robot making, a setup by the local Linux Cafe and more. They also had a "capture the flag" tournament on Saturday and another hacking event on Sunday. They video taped several sessions and should make them available on-line. I hope some of the slide decks are made available as well.
I kind of went back and forth between the 2 main tracks. The event kicked off on Saturday morning with a keynote address on malware threats by Dave Marcus of McAfee. After about 6pm, the 2 main tracks gave way to the "moral heads" track. Some of the sessions I liked was the one using hardware to hack systems, using social engineering during pentesting, and the panel discussion on bitcoin.
There were a few problems, which I think should be expected for a first time conference. There was some problems with the video recordings not working with a few early sessions. Some of the presenters were obviously not experienced presenters, so it was a bit hard to hear a few, and some had a tendency to read from their slides (when they got off that and just discussed stuff was much better). There were a few speakers who weren't able to come. And there was the bizarre incident that someone stole the registration list (literally came up, grabbed it, and ran). Things I hope will improve for next year.
Seeing as how Hacker Halted USA isn't coming back to Miami this year (they're going to Atlanta), and unless another IT Security conference happens (maybe a "B Sides". Anyone up to organizing a "Security B-Sides FTL"?), this is probably going to be the only IT Security conference of any kind in the area this year.
I do hope they do another conference next year, and make it better.