Two Exabeam Employees At RSA Conference Now Have Coronavirus

‘If you came into contact with our staff, please be vigilant in monitoring yourself for symptoms and follow recommended guidelines to prevent possible infection,’ Exabeam wrote on Twitter.


Two Exabeam employees who attended last month’s RSA Conference in San Francisco have tested positive for coronavirus two weeks after the massive cybersecurity event.

“We recently learned and are saddened to share that two of our employees have tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19),” Exabeam wrote on Twitter at 3 p.m. ET Tuesday. “If you came into contact with our staff, please be vigilant in monitoring yourself for symptoms and follow recommended guidelines to prevent possible infection. Our thoughts are with our colleagues.”

Exabeam said they can’t confirm whether the two employees contracted coronavirus prior to, at or after RSA Conference, which took place from Feb. 24 to Feb. 28. The Foster City, Calif.-based SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) startup was one of 658 exhibitors at RSA Conference 2020, and had a 20 X 20-foot booth in the South Expo Hall of San Francisco’s Moscone Center.

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[Related: Another Domino Falls: AT&T Out Of RSA Conference Amid Coronavirus Concerns]

The company said on Twitter that the two employees who tested positive for coronavirus may have been at the Exabeam booth, and recommended that visitors to the Exabeam booth during the show be vigilant and follow guidelines. In addition to its Silicon Valley headquarters, Exabeam has offices in Atlanta, London, Singapore, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

The company said that “out of an abundance of caution” it has instituted “a work from home policy for our Foster City, CA and Atlanta, GA offices, following suit with many other Bay Area tech companies.”

Exabeam didn’t immediately respond to a series of questions from CRN.

RSA Conference officials said on their website that there isn’t a known direct link finding these individuals had symptoms during the conference or attended during the incubation period. Similarly, no official governing body has communicated as much back to the RSA Conference, conference officials said.

“We are sharing this information with our RSA Conference attendees and have contacted appropriate health authorities,” conference officials said on their website. “We will continue to share information as we have it.”

The Exabeam tweet and post from RSA Conference officials came shortly after Bloomberg reported that an engineer from Exabeam had tested positive for coronavirus and is seriously ill with respiratory issues. The 45-year-old man began experiencing symptoms when he returned home to Connecticut from California on Feb. 28, his wife told Bloomberg in an email.

The Exabeam engineer’s condition deteriorated the following week, his wife told Bloomberg, and he was hospitalized with respiratory distress on March 6. The man was placed into a medically induced coma and is now on a ventilator in “guarded condition,” according to Bloomberg. The employee is predisposed to pneumonia due to an underlying heart condition, his wife told Bloomberg, who withheld his name.

In the weeks leading up to RSA Conference 2020, 14 vendors pulled out of the show, including three Platinum and Gold sponsors: IBM Security, AT&T Cybersecurity and Verizon. Seven of the cancellations were from American companies (including IBM, AT&T and Verizon), six were from Chinese companies, and one was from a Canadian company.

Four days before the show began, San Francisco Mayor London Breed wrote an open letter to RSA Conference attendees that said the risk of becoming infected from coronavirus in San Francisco was low since the virus wasn’t circulating in the community. Then on the second day of RSA Conference 2020, San Francisco declared a state of emergency to accelerate planning measures and help secure funding.

The lighter attendance at RSA Conference 2020 was noticeable both on the Expo floor as well as on the streets around San Francisco’s Moscone Center, with conference officials reporting that more than 36,000 people attended this year’s show. That’s down more than 15 percent from a reported attendance of 42,500 during RSA Conference 2019, which took place during the first week of March.

Other shows scheduled to take place the same week at RSA Conference 2020 were scrapped, including Mobile World Congress, which was expected to draw 109,000 people to Barcelona. In addition, Fortinet’s Accelerate 2020 Barcelona event – which was scheduled to take place the week before the RSA Conference – was cancelled due to health and safety concerns associated with coronavirus.