Why? It is not safe for people to gather in large groups for conferences, sports ball events, or clubbing now or in the foreseeable future this year.
To commemorate this (hopefully) once in a lifetime event we, of course, made shirts.
When I wrote my DEF CON vs. COVID-19 blog post-March 12th 2020 I was optimistic that social distancing, sheltering, a robust medical response with wide-scale testing would make it safe to gather in early August. I no longer believe that.
Even if a vaccine were to be discovered tomorrow it would not be soon enough to test, manufacture, distribute, and administer in time for people to safely travel by August.
Too many States have stayed open or are re-opening, people partied for far too long, and the lack of Federal coordination gives me no hope that things will get back to normal this year. I also worry that the conferences that postponed to later this year will be caught up in the “second wave” after restrictions start to ease and they will end up having to cancel. Because of this, postponing for DEF CON was not an option.
The theme for DEF CON 28 is “Discovery,” and 2020 has not disappointed.
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 by tweeting that we were canceling before we understood and were confident we could navigate the process.
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. 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.
Then on August 6th, we will open the DEF CON discord.io/dc server up for everyone to join and start their con experience!
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.
There are too many different platforms for “one size fits all” so instead of us picking a winner we will act as the coordinator pointing everyone where to go with a planning calendar, links, descriptions, and music.
The good news is DEF CON will survive, and DEF CON 29 is planned for August 5-8 2021, you can reserve your rooms now.
On a personal level this has been the most stressful few months I can remember, between being on home lock-down and having to navigate the future of DEF CON it has felt like there were land mines all around me and the lights were turned off. While cancellation negotiations are still ongoing I’ve been lucky that the DEF CON Goons and community writ large have been amazing, helping me to navigate in a safe direction. I am proud that over the years we have all gotten better at self-care and supporting each other outside of Con and I can’t wait to see everyone when it is less chaotic and uncertain. Hackers do like security.
Thank you for your support and understanding,