Aries Security and the Wall of Sheep Proud to Help DEF CON go Virtual
The Wall of Sheep has a long history of being the outreach arm of Aries Security. Through this amazing group of staff, members of the community and collaborators, we have managed to bring training to tens of thousands of people via the DEF CON security conference for over a decade. So, when DEF CON talked about actually cancelling this year (as opposed to its yearly fake cancellation tradition), the founder of DEF CON (The Dark Tangent), reached out to our CEO Brian Markus (Riverside) for his thoughts. Brian felt finding a way to make this happen during such trying times was imperative for the hacking and information security community, so he offered to help build out a proof of concept to avoid shutting the doors and give our industry some normalcy during the epidemic. DEF CON agreed, it was greenlit to go full speed ahead and plan our first virtual conference!
In keeping with hacker tradition, we looked for a place to setup that had the ability to emulate the look and feel of the real life conference, while providing the comforts and safety in the Code of Conduct that DEF CON adheres to. While many platforms were tested, the options that meet the conferences needs quickly narrowed down to Discord. After several calls with their team, the decision was made.(Shout out to Discord for all their help!). As we peeled back the layers on what it was going to take to pull this off, everyone on all sides went into a scramble, writing bots, testing security, setting up online streaming, prepping talks, workshops, presentations and even live DJ’s. With everything in place, we hit the power button and booted DEF CON into safe-mode.
By all metrics the conference was a huge success! We had an amazing turnout with an average of ten thousand people online during the whole show and nearly thirty thousand in total. People got to enjoy much of the same educational content DEF CON has been known for since the beginning (we even got the alpha version of our training live in AWS!) and just as important, people got a chance to interact with all their conventions friend in the safest way possible, from their homes.
We want to thank DEF CON for letting us help keep our favorite convention alive, along with Discord for the amazing support and all those that worked countless hours to make this happen.
If you had a chance to attend this year, thanks for coming and we hope you were able to stop by the Packet Hacking Village, and hope to see you again next year, either remote or IRL!