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Security pros test positive for Covid-19 after RSA Conference

Two employees of security firm Exabeam have been diagnosed with the Covid-19 coronavirus after attending RSA Conference 2020

Two unnamed employees of security information and event management (SIEM) specialist Exabeam are ill with the Covid-19 coronavirus, apparently after attending RSA Conference 2020 in San Francisco at the end of February.

According to Bloomberg, which first reported the story, one of the workers, a 45-year old man with an underlying heart condition, began experiencing symptoms after returning home after the conference. He is now seriously ill in a medically induced coma. To protect their privacy, neither of the employees’ identities have been revealed.

In a statement circulated online, an Exabeam spokesperson said: “We recently learned and are saddened to share that two of our employees have tested positive for Coronavirus (Covid-19). These two employees attended a cyber security conference in San Francisco last month, and while we cannot confirm whether they contracted Covid-19 prior to, at or after the conference, if you came into contact with our staff, please be vigilant in monitoring yourself for symptoms.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we have instituted a work from home policy for our Foster City, CA and Atlanta, GA offices, following suit with many other Bay Area tech companies. Our thoughts are with our colleagues.”

In an email sent to everybody who went to RSA Conference 2020, the firm insisted the health and safety of all its attendees was of primary importance.

“We recently learned that two individuals tested positive for Covid-19, who attended RSA Conference, which started on 24 February. Out of an abundance of caution, we want to share this information with you so you can take necessary steps to monitor your own situation,” said the firm.

“To date, no official governing body has communicated with RSA Conference that these individuals had symptoms at the RSA Conference event or attended during the Covid-19 incubation period. We are in contact with the relevant health authorities to provide them with the necessary information to complete their investigation and are following their guidance on how to proceed.”

Exabeam said that both of the infected individuals may have been present on its booth at RSA Conference, and therefore anybody who visited the Exabeam exhibit should be extra vigilant in monitoring themselves for coronavirus symptoms, and following established health service guidelines to prevent further community transmission.

The potential dangers of mass gatherings of people such as are found at technology conferences have been repeatedly highlighted in the past few weeks. Many countries have already imposed restrictions on mass gatherings, and many other conferences have been called off as organisers and employers assess the risks of potentially exposing people to the virus.

However, in contrast to the likes of Mobile World Congress (MWC), RSA chose to go ahead with its annual conference, even after multiple attendees pulled out. The event, which ran from 24 to 28 February 2020, still attracted nearly 40,000 visitors to San Francisco’s Moscone conference centre.

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