4 min read

Chaos Communication Camp 2023

An unforgettable experience with hackers and associated lifeforms in a brickwork park full of bright lights and loud music.
Chaos Communication Camp 2023
View of the tents and the Marketplatz at CCCamp 2023

We've just returned from 5 days at #CCCamp23, it is hosted every four years just north of Berlin and this year was our first time attending. What is this camp?

The Chaos Communication Camp is an international, five-day open-air event for hackers and associated life-forms.

It's hard to put into words what CCCamp was truly like without attending it yourself, but there's a sense of mystery and discovery about it. People bring their inventions, gadgets, all sorts of displays for campers to enjoy. It's the kind of place that you can buy an ethernet cable from an old cigarette vending machine while walking by an old rusty digger and tents covered in LED lights.

The cake is a lie.

It's also the kind of place where you can drink with people who have travelled from all over Europe to celebrate 30 years of the Debian Linux distribution. Someone we know may or may not have donated an Ubuntu installation disk to the cause, but you didn't hear that from me.

BornHack camp, 30 years of Debian (photo credit: Matthew)

The event was hosted in August, so a combination of emergency blankets attached to our tents, and regular dips in the lake attemped to keep us cool while we balanced drinking copious amounts of cold water and Tschunk (a cocktail consisting of sugar, lime, rum, and club mate).

Our camp set up by the Milliways stage (photo credit: Matthew)

This event wasn't only about networking, hacking, drinking, and LED lights however. There were talks happening over the whole week from a huge variety of experts in their field, some of the talks we attended included:

  • Surviving DDoS attacks
  • Using NixOS as a replacement Android mobile operating system
  • Hacktivism
  • Physical vulnerability research (advanced lock picking!)
  • Identifying social engineering
  • Obtaining secret TETRA primitives through police radio jailbreaking
  • Understanding industrial coffee machines
  • Ethical hacking
  • OnTrack Demo party
  • PID loops: self-balancing robots

There were so many others, but these are some of the sessions that stood out to me. If you're interested in watching any of the sessions for yourself, they should all be available here.

Photo dump from our time at CCCamp:

The community around these camps and events are what keeps bringing us back for more. I first heard about something like this when my friend Ottilia (featured in many of these photos) had her talk on Anti-Surveillance Knitting accepted for ElectroMagneticField (EMF) camp 2022 in the South of England. We had an amazing experience, made some great friends, and learned of CCCamp. By which point, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to go to an even bigger camp and travel abroad to do so. It makes it even better that at CCCamp there is a village for the EMF Camp organisers, complete with the Scottish consulate and Irish embassy villages which are staples at these events.

Thank you to everyone who made this a wonderful experience, here's hoping we can make it back again in 4 years time, and meet many of the regulars at other events in between. Next stop: EMFCamp 2024.