Black Hat and DEF CON attendees differ on risk management • The Register

black hat With last week’s hacker summer camps being canceled, it’s clear that even though things are recovering, attendance was still down sharply in the days leading up to COVID.

Risk management is an important safety principle, and in the weeks and months leading up to shows, there was much debate about whether it was worth the risk to fly to Las Vegas and spend a week in crowded hotels. The RSA conference in San Francisco in June was viewed by many as a test case, and the results there were mixed: many COVID infections were reported, but it did not become a full superspreader.

For Black Hat, getting boots on the ground is crucial. While tickets are expensive, the exhibition halls bring in a lot of money – and if people are not willing to book stands or walk around, then the organizers suffer a great financial loss.

Possibly because of this, the conference was very relaxed about masks and there was a wide mix of people both preparing and not. While official attendance figures have not yet been released, the show was certainly a lot busier than last year and nearing pre-pandemic normalcy.

The same was true for DEF CON, although the organizers were much stricter about masking and adding extra air filters. This has created some tensions over the past two years between those who want the protection and others who have had enough of masking.

These stricter measures appear to have been successful over the past year, with very few cases reported. However, attendance numbers are much higher this week.

However, the monsoon-like rains that swept Las Vegas throughout the week offered at least one person the opportunity to live a little more on the edge. Pool parties are traditional during the week, however surf down the street surrounded by years of junk – and probably some sewage – isn’t the way to go. ® Black Hat and DEF CON attendees differ on risk management • The Register

Laura Coffey

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