The 10 Top Cyber Security Conferences for 2024

Top Cyber Security Conferences

Live events are a valuable way to get up close to the security industry’s best thinkers, makers, leaders, and hirers. 

But which of the top cyber security conferences are most worthy of your time, attention, and cash? 

It’s fair to say that StationX is packed full of experts with plenty of conference experience behind us—as both attendees and speakers. 

Drawing on this, we’ve cast our eyes on this year’s busy international event schedule to bring you our rundown of the top cyber security conferences for 2024.

Why Attend a Cyber Security Conference?

In terms of development and career building, you can get a lot done in cyber security without leaving your home or office. 

However, pretty much everyone—security folks included—appreciates the opportunity for in-person interaction occasionally. 

Here’s why security conferences are especially useful.

Keeping Up with Emerging Issues and Best Practice 

Where’s the next big threat coming from? What does generative AI mean for incident response? What do you really need to know about any new cyber security regulations? 

The best conferences bring together experts to cover the stuff you really need to know right now. Get the latest hints and tips, ask questions, and share perspectives with other attendees. 

Things change fast; so gaining up-to-date knowledge is useful for cyber security professionals at all levels. 

Hands-on Participation 

At top cyber security conferences, you’re not just sitting passively listening to people talking. 

There’s usually the opportunity to sign up for interactive workshops, technical deep dives, and sometimes even accredited technical training short courses. 

Big names and up-and-coming product vendors are usually well-represented. So if you’ve seen a particular tool or platform reviewed or advertised, a conference can be an ideal opportunity to test it for yourself. 

Networking and Career Building 

Conferences are a great excuse to finally meet in-real-life with folks you’ve been chatting with across security forums and subreddits—and maybe even get a selfie with the cyber heroes you’ve been following for years on X.

These events are awesome for growing and strengthening your network. 

What’s more, attendance demonstrates to current and prospective employers that you’re serious about keeping your cyber security knowledge up-to-date, which is a valuable differentiator for your resume. 

Recertification 

Most cyber security certifications only remain valid for three or four years, after which you need to renew them either by retaking the exam or earning educational credits. 

As this CompTIA renewals guide illustrates, conference participation is one of the ways in which you can notch up qualifying experience—which are referred to by CompTIA as continuing education units (CEUs). 

Other certification bodies treat conference participation in a similar way. 

Top Cyber Security Conferences 

For us, the best cyber security conferences are those that combine insightful panels, hands-on practical sessions, and really valuable networking opportunities. 

A lot of events promise all of this, but which events actually deliver? Here’s our take.

The Top 10 Cyber Security Conferences 

  1. Blackhat
  2. Def Con
  3. RSA Conference
  4. Chaos Communication Congress
  5. Shmoocon
  6. Hack In The Box Security Conference
  7. Usenix Security Symposium
  8. AWS Re:Inforce
  9. First Annual Conference
  10. Cansecwest
  11. BONUS: Hackers on Planet Earth Aka Hope

Here’s the lowdown on each of these picks.

1. Black Hat

Location

  • Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay Convention Center 

Dates 

  • Saturday, Aug 3 – Thursday August 8, 2024 
  • Trainings: Saturday, August 3 – Tuesday, August 6 
  • Briefings: Wednesday, August 7 & Thursday, August 8
  • Business Hall: Wednesday, August 7 & Thursday, August 8

Cost 

$2,599 USD for the full in-person briefings pass (early offer ends May 24). A full list of pricing options (including academic rates for students) is available here

Registration

Registration page here.  

About Blackhat 

Founded by Jeff Moss (aka The Dark Tangent), and now in its 27th year, Blackhat aims to bring the latest cutting-edge research, developments, and trends to the entire cyber security community. 

We love Black Hat precisely because it has so much to offer for pretty much everyone interested in cyber security, from CISOs and directors, security analysts, architects, and penetration testers, right through to students. 

The Black Hat Briefings are the main draw, whereby the brightest and best names in the industry speak candidly about today’s hottest cyber issues. 

2024’s speakers are yet to be announced, but last year’s highlights included CISA director Jen Easterly on the Ukraine cyberwar, and Jeff Moss on the nexus of AI and cyber security. 

Attendees can take part in technical courses on topics including pentesting, web app exploits, and the creation of SCADA systems. You can also spend hours exploring the Black Hat Arsenal, a dedicated space for trying out hardware and open-source tools in workshops led by some of the most exciting developers out there.

2. DEF CON

Location

  • Las Vegas, LVCC (Las Vegas Convention Center)

Dates 

  • Thursday, August 8 - Sunday, August 11, 2024 

Cost 

$480 USD 

Registration

DEF CON is billed as a cash-at-the-door kind of conference. However, you can pre-register for tickets at shopdefcon.org.  

About DEF CON

Founded by Jeff Moss in the early nineties, DEF CON is kind of like the more laid-back, less corporate older brother of Black Hat—the two events take place consecutively in Vegas. 

Last year, there were around 30,000 attendees, comprising a mixed crowd of hackers, students and security professionals of all levels. 

Details are yet to be firmed up, but expect to find a warren of “villages”—i.e., dedicated spaces focused on specific topics, such as red/blue teaming, lockpicking, bio hacking, and cloud technology. 

Usually, there’s plenty opportunity to take part in CTFs and other challenges, along with dedicated tracks of speakers—all with a much less polished ambience than Black Hat. 

Here’s Cory Doctorow’s keynote from DEF CON 31, the content of which has inspired the theme for this year’s event.

3. RSA Conference

Location

  • San Francisco, Moscone Center 

Dates 

  • Monday, May 6 – Thursday, May 9, 2024  

Cost 

$2,695 USD for a full conference pass at the regular price. A discount rate is available until April 5, and various concessions are also available. See the full pricing structure here.    

Registration

See the RSA Registration Page.  

About RSA Conference 

Attracting around 45,000 attendees, 650+ speakers, and more than 500 exhibitors, the main target audience for RSAC is CISOs and other senior cyber security professionals, investors, channel partners, and industry analysts. 

Highlights for 2024 include seminars dedicated to AI, critical infrastructure protection, and various aspects of governance. 

A packed programme of speakers includes CrowdStrike President, Michael Sentonas, experimental physicist, Brian Cox, and GRAMMY award-winner and business founder, Alicia Keys. 

If you can get an invite, the evening drinks, receptions, and parties organized by vendors and investors also offer an excellent chance to mingle and widen your network.

4. Chaos Communication Congress

Location

  • Hamburg Congress Center  

Dates 

  • 27–30 December 2024  

Cost 

TBA (usually around EUR 175).    

Registration

Keep an eye on this page for updates 

About Chaos Communication Congress 

Chaos Computer Club (CCC) is a prominent European hacker association—referred to in its charter as “a galactic organization of all life forms”—that provides technical information and campaigns on societal and hacking-related issues, such as surveillance, privacy, and freedom of information. 

Each year, between Christmas and New Years Eve, the Club hosts its “Congress,” renowned as the world’s largest non-commercial hacking meeting, which regularly attracts 15,000+ attendees. 

This isn’t the type of event where you’ll be harangued by endless VC-funded vendors flogging their “game-changing” widgets. Instead, expect a safe, chilled, and supportive experience for hackers of all types and levels. 

This includes lectures, workshops, and lots of like-minded people presenting their projects and thoughts to fellow hackers.

5. ShmooCon

Location

  • Washington Hilton Hotel, Washington DC   

Dates 

  • 12 – 14 January 2024  

Cost 

$175 USD for general admission.    

Registration

Keep an eye on the Shmoocon general information page

About ShmooCon

The Shmoo Group is an affiliation of security professionals from around the world who donate their time and energy to security research and development. Its annual con attracts researchers, hackers, security pros (both employees and contractors), intel agency employees, and students. 

Expect a busy lineup of talks—mostly on original security research—alongside workshops and challenges, and parties. 

There are only around 2,000 or so tickets available for the event each year, and it tends to sell out in seconds. So if you’re interested, make sure you keep an eye on their X page for updates.

6. Hack In The Box Security Conference - HITBSecConf

Location

  • Bangkok:  Intercontinental Hotel 
  • Abu Dhabi: Venue TBC    

Dates 

  • Bangkok: August 26 – 30   
  • Abu Dhabi: November 25 – 28 

Cost 

TBC    

Registration

TBC

About HITBSecConf 

HITB is a global, non-profit group that focuses on security research. 

HITBSecConf is its annual flagship event, attracting a crowd of around 3,500 security professionals and researchers. The event started life in Amsterdam almost three decades ago, and is now held in locations worldwide.  

Expect a stimulating blend of workshops, training sessions, and presentations where you can drill into the latest developments and research findings in areas such as digital forensics, malware analysis, IoT, and mobile security. 

This year’s keynote speakers are yet to be announced. 

It tends to attract big names from the worlds of security and hacking, though, with Eugene Kasapersky, Bruce Schneier, Joe Grand, and Mikko Hypponen having made appearances in previous years.

7. USENIX Security Symposium

Location

  • Philadelphia, Marriott Downtown    

Dates 

  • August 14 – 16, 2024 

Cost 

TBC. Expect it to be around $1,000 for Early Bird confirmees, and $1,200 at the standard rate, with discounts for students.     

Registration

TBC. This usually opens around three months prior to the conference date. Keep an eye on the conference information page and the Usenix X page for updates. 

About USENIX Security Symposium 

USENIX is a nonprofit organization comprising a community of engineers, researchers, and practitioners “working at the cutting edge of the computing world.” 

The association’s annual security symposium seeks to bring together anyone with a serious interest in the latest advances in system and network security and privacy. 

As a taste of what to expect, last year’s conference tracks comprised topics as diverse as “fighting the robots,” decentralized finance, breaking wireless protocols, and adversarial machine learning.

8. AWS Re:Inforce

Location

  • Philadelphia, Marriott Downtown    

Dates 

  • June 10–12, 2024 

Cost 

Full Conference Pass: $1,099 USD.     

Registration

Subscribe for updates here

About AWS: Re:Inforce 

Focusing exclusively on AWS security solutions, this event is suitable for security engineers, architects, and administrators and anyone else whose work involves securing an AWS environment

AWS: Re:Inforce is committed to delivering specialist AWS security learning, boosting your own skillset, while helping you better protect your organization. 

There will be a wide range of intermediate and advanced-level training sessions—last year’s sessions included topics such as improving data control with AWS KMS, migration strategies, and scaling compliance with AWS Control Tower. 

This year’s speakers are expected to focus strongly on the impact of emerging technologies such as generative AI—but, as you would expect, there will be a strong emphasis on their impacts on AWS environments.

9. FIRST Annual Conference

Location

  • Hilton Sea Hawk, Fukuoka, Japan    

Dates 

  • June 9 – 14, 2024 

Cost 

Standard Rate (Member) $2,250 USD, (Non-Member) $3,250.      

Registration

Get full registration and fees info here

About FIRST Annual Conference 

The Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) is an international non-profit association of computer security and incident response teams (CSIRTs), product security and incident response teams (PSIRTs) and independent security researchers. 

The conference aims to provide a forum for sharing goals, ideas, and information on how to improve computer security on a global scale. It’s going to have special appeal to anyone in senior CSIRT and PSIRT roles—or anyone who wants to boost their credentials in these areas. 

What’s the best way to communicate a breach to the c-suite? What does it take for CSIRT professionals to improve their management skills? How do you build a bug bounty program

These are the types of issues explored through a packed program of keynote addresses and breakout sessions.

10. CanSecWest

Location

  • Wall Centre, Vancouver, Canada     

Dates 

  • March 20 – March 22, 2024

Cost 

$2,400 CAD full price in-person cost (discounts apply for early payment).      

Registration

Full registration and fee details are here

About CanSecWest 

With a strong emphasis on technical learning, CanSecWest aims to deliver the most up-to-date knowledge and best practice surrounding the most pressing issues in infosec. 

A wide range of specialist dojos are available—at an extra cost—alongside the main event track.  

Speakers at this year’s conference include Marta Janus, Daniel Komaromy, Anna Manley, and Andrea Barisani. 

Topics covered will include subjects as diverse as vulnerabilities in electric vehicle chargers, the regulation of AI, Microsoft and iOS-specific vulnerabilities, and the use of machine learning models in supply chain attacks. 

CanSecWest is also home to the Pwn2Own Exploit Contest. Last year, more than $1 million in prize money was won over three days, with the largest award of $250,000 going to researchers at the French company Synacktiv, who earlier had also pocketed an additional $100,000 in cash and a Tesla Model 3 for taking full control of a Tesla vehicle via a race condition exploit.

11. BONUS: Hackers On Planet Earth (aka HOPE)

Location

  • St. John’s University Queens, New York City      

Dates 

  • July 12 – 24, 2024

Cost 

$225 USD      

Registration

Full registration details here

About Hackers On Planet Earth (aka HOPE) 

Taking place every two years, the HOPE conference is sponsored by the hacker quarterly, 2600.  

With a history that goes back to 1994, it brings together thousands of hackers at the St. John’s University campus in Queens, New York, for what’s described as one of the most creative and diverse hacker events in the world. 

Alongside inspirational talks (previous speakers have included Steve Wozniak, Jello Biafra, and Edward Snowden), attendees can expect a blend of hands-on workshops, live performances, movies and more. 

It’s suitable for pretty much anyone at any level of experience who’s interested in hacking and cyber security. 

This year’s itinerary is still to be announced, but just a few of the topics covered at the most recent HOPE conference included the role of transparent UX design in safeguarding user privacy, “hero culture” in cyber security, electronic warfare on a budget of $15 or less, and engineering your own disease eradication program.

Conclusion 

Whether you just want to hang out with like-minded hackers and security pros, or you want to drill into the latest products—and maybe try your hand at a CTF challenge—we hope that there’s something for you in our top ten recommendations. 

And remember, if you need networking, professional support, career advancement tips, and practical help with building up recognized experience, then check out the StationX community.

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  • Gary Smith

    Gary spends much of his working day thinking and writing about professional and personal development, as well as trends and best practice in IT recruitment from both an organizational and employee perspective. With a background in regulatory risk, he has a special interest in cyber threats, data protection, and strategies for reducing the global cyber skills gap.

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