back to article Black Hat and DEF CON visitors differ on physical risk management

As last week's hacker summer camps wound down it's clear that attendee numbers are still well down on the pre-COVID days, although things are recovering. Risk management is a key tenet of security and there was much discussion in the weeks and months before the shows about whether flying into Las Vegas and spending a week in …

  1. 43300 Silver badge

    "These stricter measures appear to have been successful last year, with very few cases reported."

    Go and look at the stats! The number of 'cases', however measured, is simply a reflection of the prevalence of the deadly cold in the area at the time. There is absolutely no correlation between spikes on the 'cases' graphs and rules and mandates regarding face nappies.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The eternal circular debate on masks.

    I just say wear it if you want, don't if you don't want to.

    If they are effective and you do proper hand hygiene then whether others are wearing them or not shouldn't matter.

    1. Cav Bronze badge

      Re: The eternal circular debate on masks.

      The eternal circular debate on masks, is only debate for the ignorant.

      Nearly three years after the start of the pandemic and we still have fools making comments like this.

      Wearing a mask does not stop YOU getting sick. Only biohazard level filters can do that. What a mask does is stops you from spraying everyone around you with saliva and phlem that contains virus, infecting them. This has been said from the damn start of the pandemic. The mask can't stop microscopic viruses but it does stop your infected secretions from infecting others.

      If you are sick, knowingly or otherwise, and you don't wear a mask then you are putting others at risk.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: The eternal circular debate on masks.

        "What a mask does is stops you from spraying everyone around you with saliva and phlem that contains virus, infecting them. "

        Logically, if a mask can stop salivary etc particles at point of exit of someone infected, they can stop the same at potential entry points of someone not infected. So voluntary mask wearing seems reasonable in situations where infection rates are low, as is the case now.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The eternal circular debate on masks.

          Sorry, but no.

          Thats like saying if i put a towel over your face an spray water on it with a hoes pipe from 1m away, is the same as if i cover the end of a hoes pipe with the towel and spay it towards you. Its not.

          Or the old pee analogy, if i have no pants on and piss in your direction, you get pissed on, you still get wet even if you are wearing pants. If i have pants on I piss on myself.

          1. jmch Silver badge

            Re: The eternal circular debate on masks.

            No need to be sorry for holding a valid opinion, I am not sorry for sticking to mine.

            Both of your analogies are flawed as they involve a high volume of liquid at high pressure that can absorb through the towel/pants. But what we are really talking about is fine particulates that the mask is designed to filter out. Normal breathing from an infected person will introduce some particles in the surrounding air, but not at pressure (that only happens with coughing/sneezing in which case whoever is doing that should do that into a tissue or elbow). Good ventilation or being outdoors can manage this just fine.

            Masks for everyone is required in settings where there is a high infection rate and / or in environments like hospitals where there are a lot of vulnerable people around. Mandating masks when infection rates are not particularly high is not necessary as those that need/ want protection can wear a mask themselves.

            All of this has of course to be combined with basic consideration - test if not feeling well, stay isolated if tested +ve or not feeling well and still untested, handwashing, proper mask-wearing, all of that. But mandatory measures should be the minimum necessary.

  3. cdilla

    Be considerate

    Masks work both ways. Wearing a mask reduces your mouthbreathing detritus entering the immediate environment.

    Masks reduce the risk of infection. They don't eliminate it.

    The more payload is in the air the more is taken in, mask wearer or not.

    Just be considerate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Be considerate - Please, for people like me

      I don't know why you got downvoted (although I have my suspicions) but you are right.

      I'm in my 70s and am considered immunocompromised by both age and disease. I always wear a mask in public. It doesn't bother me if others don't but it does bother me if others attack me for doing so.

      It would be like attacking me for using my cane.

      1. Cav Bronze badge

        Re: Be considerate - Please, for people like me

        I know why he got down-voted. Some people are stupid.

  4. Updraft102

    A monsoon is a seasonal change in the wind, which can sometimes bring heavy rain.

    The rain in Las Vegas was not "like" a monsoon. Saying a "monsoon" hit Las Vegas is like saying a "winter" hit Las Vegas. A winter storm can hit Las Vegas, and a monsoonal storm can hit Las Vegas, as it did on the day in question.

    1. anothercynic Silver badge

      I don't know why people downvoted you, but you are technically correct. The monsoon is a change in wind direction in the intertropical convergence zone. But, unfortunately, like so many things, Wikipedia now rules the world (or so it seems anyway), and Wikipedia says that the word is also used to describe short, localised, exceptionally heavy rainfall.

  5. anothercynic Silver badge


    I'm so glad to see people point out to the original tweet quoted that masks are not there to protect him from everyone else, but rather vice versa, and I'm so glad people are quoting appropriate statistics.

    COVID is airborne, it is well-known amongst the epidemiologists and they've been harping on about increasing air flow and air filtration (the Corsi-Rosenthal box, when used, has shown a distinct drop in transmission rates in schools and other places), so a large conference venue running their HVAC systems at full whack at the request of the conference organiser to exchange *a lot* of air per hour is the smart thing.

    Yes, there will be people saying "wear the mask if you want to or don't if you don't but I'm vaxxed and don't need to" - To those I say "look at the statistics... we still have wave after wave after wave... they may not be the tsunami-like waves of early in the pandemic, but they are waves". Vaccination does not mean end of transmission. Vaccination does not mean end of this annoying and pernicious disease. It merely reduces the risk of you being severely affected by it. So, if you want to be completely careful of spreading anything, especially if you are asymptomatic and are *not* testing daily (or are testing daily and decided to ignore a positive result - yes, there are asshats that do that), you wear a bloody mask.

    And CDC et al are still saying that COVID "can be airborne" (note, not "is airborne"). Epidemiologists disagree with that assessment, just like Independent SAGE in this country are...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not all black and white

    As someone with a speech processing disorder, masks basically exclude me from engaging in a complex conversation in most public circumstances. It's particularly hard when there's ambient noise (especially background speech) or multiple participants. I have to focus a lot of effort to understand what is being said (leaving less capacity to think about it) and am also constantly worrying that I've misheard. Being able to lip read really helps.

    Please understand that I don't want people to get sick but also please understand that there's a range of disabilities and masks don't benefit/have no impact on all of them.

    1. Cav Bronze badge

      Re: Not all black and white

      Which is completely understandable.

      The problem is the "If they are effective and you do proper hand hygiene then whether others are wearing them or not shouldn't matter." ignorance.

    2. Richard Jones 1

      Re: Not all black and white

      I understand your position; as a 76-year-old, with hearing loss and hearing aids that are often better at picking up some background noises, conversations in noisy places might as well be the sound of heavy rain or other white noise. My immune system may also be suffering age effects, just like my hearing. My wife has metastatic cancer, so has been trying to shield as much as frequent health appointments allow. She went down with Covid-19, and I ended up playing nurse and the treatment gofer. Happily, I did not catch the bug, perhaps my immune system is not so bad after all. As a result of concerns, I have avoided crowded places as far as possible, masked up, and accepted that conversations are now for others to have. Now, I much prefer the written word, over whatever is spoken. (This includes watching video or TV where I find the text option essential, though often hilarious, 'London's mare' anyone?.) Yes, it is socially limiting, but so is bad hearing. However, I neither want to spread, nor catch, what has been a killer illness for too many. I have lived through other viral events unscathed, and seen the impacts of such as measles, whooping cough, polio, cancer, et al., that have cost the lives of some that I knew, and crippled others. I will do what I can to avoid that fate befalling other potential victims and keep my conscience clear.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Masks or not, it’s still hours looking at PowerPoints in Las Vegas, doesn’t get any closer to Hell than that.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Ick

      Tastes vary, of course, but I'm inclined to agree. When I was younger I quite liked attending and presenting at conferences. These days it doesn't appeal. Slide decks and presentation videos are often available soon after, and many presenters provide written accounts of their research too, which I prefer (I find synchronous media increasingly tiresome as I get older).

      And Las Vegas is pretty low on my list of places I have any interest in spending my time, too.

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