A long-running joke has just become a reality following the cancellation of DEF CON and Black Hat, the two biggest cyber-security conferences of the year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Saturday, May 9, organizers of DEF CON officially called off its in-person event and set up plans to adapt an all-virtual conference instead.
In their official announcement, DEF CON organizers revealed they had initially thought things would be stable by August. However, with the way things are, they had deemed the idea as “no longer realistic.”
“Currently there’s no way to gather everyone together and keep them safe, so The Dark Tangent has decided to cancel the in-person event,” they explained.
Originally, DEF CON, an annual hacking convention that gathers thousands of professionals and cybersecurity researchers, was set to take place from August 6 to 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Meanwhile, Black Hat, also a security conference, was scheduled to occur from August 1 to 6 in the same area.
“We have been continuously reviewing the best ways to serve the information security community over the past few months as the global health situation continues to develop. While we will not be meeting in person, we are moving forward with a plan to transform Black Hat USA into an all-virtual event in order to best serve our community,” Black Hat said in a separate announcement.
As part of their new arrangements, DEF CON will now be taking a virtual set up via Discord from August 7 to 9, 2020. Meanwhile, Black Hat will maintain it’s August 1 to 6 schedules but will offer a virtual option to speakers, trainers, and sponsors.
“Even though our in-person Las Vegas event is canceled, we will run DEF CON 28 Safe Mode August 7-9 (Friday through Sunday) with 101 orientation Thursday – all of it remote,” explained Jeff Moss, manager of DEF CON. “We will use the DEF CON Forums to coordinate all the various ways you to participate. That is where everyone can announce their plans, do signups, post pictures and videos, and get people involved.”
The recent announcements make DEF CON and Black Hat, two of the biggest annual cyber-security conferences, the latest additions to the chains of other 2020 cybersecurity events that have canceled or switched to virtual set up following the COVID-19 pandemic.