The Standoff 2021 is taking place this week May 18-21, in conjunction with PHDays (Positive Hack Days) – one of the top cybersecurity conferences in Europe that features the world's cutting edge in digital security every year.

The Standoff is an online offensive/defensive competition in which defenders (blue teams) compete against attackers (red teams) to control the infrastructure of a simulated digital city.

This will be the 10th anniversary of PHDays, featuring The Standoff as a centerpiece, where red and blue teams compete to hack and defend a virtual city complete with full-fidelity replicas of the technology landscape present in everything from banks to oil companies to downtown hubs and IoT systems.

In cybersecurity, the ideal seems unachievable. That’s a strange contradiction for a discipline where innovation happens so fast that new capabilities often run ahead of business and personal needs—the technologies arrive before we’ve figured out how best to use them. Yet despite so many advances, we’re often struggling to keep up with the next threat, or coping with the latest breach.

There’s also a contradiction in the way cybersecurity scenarios seesaw between the conceptual and the real: Security specialists draw up scenarios based on threat perception, yet real incidents still carry many surprises. So how might things be different with a hyper-realistic representation of an entire cityscape? How can we test real systems to find all the ways hackers can get in, and shore up defenses accordingly?

The Standoff is a time and space where hackers, defenders, governments and businesses work together without borders. This year’s theme is making the most devastating cybersecurity incidents impossible. For example, railway systems seek to ensure that two trains never run into each other—what’s the technology equivalent at each entity, and how can that ideal be achieved? To find answers, PHDays will feature multiple tracks—offensive and defensive security; investments in IT, etc.—and of course, The Standoff.

Starting on May 18, the cyber range is visualized as a modern metropolis: 40 square meters with real controllers, real equipment, real software that manage critical processes. The Standoff will allow you to witness a real cyberbattle between white-hat attackers and defenders for control of a digital city. You will be given a graphic demonstration of the potential consequences of a cyberattack on the infrastructure of a modern metropolis with its factories, banks, transport system, entertainment venues, and business centers. This will provide a timely insight into how deeply technology affects our lives, how to prevent dangerous incidents from occurring in reality, and how to make our lives more comfortable and secure.

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