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Black Hat Is Back: Scenes From The Show

CRN shows off some of the most zany and offbeat booths from Black Hat’s Business Hall floor as well as the measures taken to protect attendees at one of the first in-person technology conferences to take place since the pandemic.

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A Gathering In COVID’s Shadow

Black Hat 2021 was one of the first large-scale technology conferences to take place in person since the arrival of COVID-19 last spring, with 5,000 cybersecurity enthusiasts convening in Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Convention Center to hear about ransomware, supply chain and critical infrastructure attacks from leaders including Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and CISA Director Jen Easterly.

While attendees were happy to see friends and colleagues again in person, the show felt much smaller and quieter than the last in-person Black Hat in 2019, where 20,200 attendees packed the Business Hall to gawk at booths from more than 300 security vendors. This time around, there were dozens rather than hundreds of vendors exhibiting in the Business Hall, and there was plenty of space to spread out.

Executives who spoke with CRN said the reduced number of customers and hackers in attendance was the most noticeable aspect, with the in-person audience consisting largely of cybersecurity vendors and investors.

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