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The Black Hat security conferences bring together many of the most knowledgeable cybersecurity professionals in the world. The 2012 U.S. event was held July 21-26 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

The two biggest draws are the famous Black Hat briefings — presentations and workshops educating attendees on the latest threats and security developments — and detailed training sessions that hone students’ IT skills.

We went to this year’s event to find out firsthand what makes Black Hat so vital to the technologists who keep our networks and data safe.

Hilton Collins, Staff Writer Hilton Collins  |  GT Staff Writer

By day, Hilton Collins is a staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines who covers sustainability, cybersecurity and disaster management issues. By night, he’s a sci-fi/fantasy fanatic, and if he had to choose between comic books, movies, TV shows and novels, he’d have a brain aneurysm. He can be reached at hcollins@govtech.com and on @hiltoncollins on Twitter.