Black Hat USA and DEF CON Cancelled Due to #COVID19

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Black Hat USA and DEF CON have become the latest victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, after organizers announced plans to cancel the cybersecurity conferences and replace them with virtual events.

For DEF CON, the decision has turned a long-running joke on its head. For the past few years mischief-makers have taken to the internet to spread fake news about the event being cancelled.

“The #DEFCONiscanceled meme has crossed over into real life, courtesy of #COVID19,” wrote the organizers on Twitter on Friday. “In early March we had hopes that things would be stable by August. That is no longer realistic.”

Founder Jeff Moss (aka The Dark Tangent) said he actually made the decision to cancel back in April, but has spent the past few weeks working with staff, lawyers, accountants and venue hosts to “navigate the process.”

DEF CON 28 Safe Mode will now run online from August 7-9, with 101 orientation Thursday. The DEF CON Forums will be used by participants to announce plans, do signups and post pictures and videos.

“Expect events like a new on-line Mystery Challenge, a DEF CON is Canceled music album, remote CTFs like Hack-a-Sat, Villages like the Packet Hacking Village, contests like the TeleChallenge, Ham Exams, and more. We are also planning a remote movie night and drink-up,” explained Moss.

Black Hat general manager, Steve Wylie, was more circumspect, saying only in a Friday update that there would be more information on a virtual event posted soon.

“We're inspired to adapt Black Hat USA in a virtual format that will be available to our entire global community. Our team is working hard to deliver the same level of high-quality briefings, trainings and business hall programs that Black Hat attendees have come to expect every year,” he explained.

“We believe in the power of gathering our community to share, inspire, and strengthen our industry and are committed to providing that opportunity in August.”

At the beginning of April, the organizers of Europe’s largest cybersecurity conference, Infosecurity Europe, announced that this year’s event would be postponed, with a program of virtual content planned for June 2-4.

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