How to attend Black Hat USA 2021 and DEF CON 29 virtually

DEF CON 29 sold out of virtual passes, so tuning in on Twitch and Discord are the best options for attending online this year.

screen-shot-2021-07-29-at-9-38-28-am.png

Hackers and security experts have virtual, in-person and hybrid options for attending Black Hat USA 2021 and DEF CON 29 this year. Organizers are expecting about 5,000 people at the joint in-person events in Las Vegas. There are still in-person and virtual tickets left for Black Hat but virtual tickets for DEF CON are sold out.

Training sessions at Black Hat go July 31 to Aug. 3, and the main conference is Aug. 4 and 5. DEF CON runs from Aug. 5 to 8.

Black Hat has two ways to attend this year: in person and virtually. The virtual pass is about 60% of the cost of the in-person ticket. If you want to tune in to the online sessions, the price is $1,195 until July 29. Last-minute ticket buyers will pay $1,295 to attend after that.

For virtual ticket holders, Briefings, Arsenal and the Business Hall will take place on the Swapcard Virtual Event Platform. Speakers will be available for questions after the sessions, and virtual ticket holders will have 30 days after the event to rewatch sessions and Briefings. People who purchase in-person tickets also will have access to the recorded sessions. This video tutorial explains how to navigate a virtual event via Swapcard.

SEE: Scammers offer streaming services, giveaways and a fake cyber currency to cash in on the Olympic Games (TechRepublic)

Black Hat USA 2021 Trainings will be taught live online via Zoom but not recorded. 

All the training sessions are online. There are two-day programs as well as four day sessions. Courses cover 14 topics including appsec, forensics, hardware, Internet of Things, mobile and pentesting. There are classes at every experience level from beginner to advanced, and a few sessions are already full. The cost ranges from $3,000 to $3,400, and a few sessions are already full.  

You can follow activities at Black Hat via the hashtags #BHUSA and #BHTrainings.

Masks are recommended at Black Hat USA 2021 and required at DEF CON 29. DEF CON attendees will have to show proof of vaccination as well.

Virtual options at DEF CON 29

Virtual badges for DEF CON 29 sold out in mid-July. There's still the option to buy a ticket onsite, although there is a limited number of those tickets.

In-person DEF CON 29 badges come with a code that unlocks the "Human Plus" role for access to the event's Discord Server. The Discord channel hosts the online events of DEF CON 29 and various other online events throughout the year.

There's also an option to purchase a Human Plus role to access additional permissions and access in the Discord channel. The pass is $20 and available directly on the Discord server

AI Village at DEF CON 29 is a good option if you don't have the budget for a ticket. The AI Village at DEF CON 29 is a place where experts in artificial intelligence and security can discuss the use and misuse of artificial intelligence in traditional security. Several sessions from the in-person, three-day event will be streamed on Twitch. There is also a Discord channel for the village. The AI Village event is Friday, Aug. 6 through Sunday, Aug. 8. The group's goal is to educate people on the use and abuse of AI, and these are a few of the sessions that will be livestreamed

  • Trailblazing the AI for Cybersecurity Discipline: Overview of the Field and Promising Future Directions
  • Identifying Excel 4.0 Macro strains using Anomaly Detection
  • Risks of ML Systems in Health Care: The Real Story
  • Loss Is More! Improving Malware Detectors by Learning Additional Tasks

Villages at DEFCON 29 are a mix of in-person, hybrid and virtual this year, with 17 virtual-only groups, including:

Also see

By Veronica Combs

Veronica Combs is a senior writer at TechRepublic. For more than 10 years, she has covered technology, healthcare, and business strategy. In addition to her writing and editing expertise, she has managed small and large teams at startups and establis...