Cybersecurity Conferences Postponed and Canceled Over #Coronavirus Fears

The global pandemic of Coronavirus, and the concerns of people traveling and gathering indoors at large events, has hit the cybersecurity events calendar with events now being canceled.

Initially Mobile World Congress was canceled, after being due to take place in late February, with a statement claiming that this was due to “the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concerns and other circumstances,” whilst San Francisco’s RSA Conference did go ahead despite exhibitors including IBM, Verizon and AT&T dropping out.

Meanwhile, this week’s IAPP Data Protection Intensive has also been postponed. IAPP President and CEO J. Trevor Hughes said in an email that the event has been postponed “in light of the growing concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the UK and increasing numbers of speakers, sponsors and delegates unable to attend due to corporate travel restrictions.”

He added: “Of course, this was not an easy decision. We realize how much energy, effort and time our speakers, sponsors and delegates put into the planning and preparations for an event like this, but in consideration of the rapidly developing situation, we have made the decision to postpone.”

Also over the weekend, BSides Liverpool announced that its late April event has been postponed. Speaking to Infosecurity, organizer Jenny Radcliffe said that the team were reluctant to cancel, but had to consider that people were not going to travel, the cost involved and said “we cannot gamble with people’s health and sponsorship money.”

Radcliffe did say that there is a plan to reschedule the event at the end of the year, but as for holding an event in April, “the more we looked at it, the more foolish it seemed” to go ahead, and it was “with massive regret” that it has been canceled.

However, a number of conferences have insisted that they are still going ahead. In a statement, the organizers of BSides Dublin, due to be held on March 28, recommended “anyone attending to keep in mind and make decisions based on their personal situation” and said that anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms or those that have visited any of the high risk locations should not attend.  

Meanwhile, Infosecurity Europe organizers Reed Exhibitions said in a statement that “Infosecurity Europe will run as scheduled in Olympia London, June 2-4 2020.”

While following the latest guidance from Public Health England and the World Health Organisation (WHO), Reed Exhibitions wanted “to reassure all participants of Infosecurity Europe that should the UK Government issue any further guidelines, they will be applied to our event and we will continue to update everyone involved on a regular basis. The health and safety of our exhibitors, visitors, partners and staff is our number one priority.”

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