Black Hat and DEF CON, the two biggest cyber-security conferences of the year, have canceled their in-person events today and announced plans to go with a virtual conference format in light of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
The two conferences were initially scheduled to take place in Las Vegas back to back in the first two weeks of August 2020, with Black Hat from August 1 to August 6, and with DEF CON from August 7 to August 9.
The two are now following in the footsteps of many other cyber-security conferences who canceled or went with a virtual format since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in February this year.
While details are still scant at the moment, both conferences will live-stream talks to paying attendees.
No changes in dates have been announced, and both conferences are expected to take place during their previously announced dates.
While the Black Hat team has only posted a short statement, Jeff Moss, the DEF CON manager has gone into the details that lead to today’s decision.
“While I made the decision to cancel the in-person conference almost a month ago on April 11th, the delay in announcing has been due to learning how to actually cancel. It has taken weeks of working with staff, lawyers, accountants, and Caesars. I didn’t want to endanger the future of the con[ference] by tweeting that we were canceling before we understood and were confident we could navigate the process.”
Going forward, Moss said DEF CON will continue to be an in-person event. Next year’s edition, DEF CON 29, is currently scheduled as an in-person event, planned for August 5-8, 2021.
The news today has killed a two-decades-old joke in the cyber-security community, namely that “DEF CON is canceled.”
Previously, the DEF CON team had put their DEF CON China edition on hold. The conference was initially scheduled between April 17 and April 19. Black Hat’s Asian edition, initially scheduled to be held in Singapore between March 31 and April 3, was postponed to September 29 to October 2.