Inside Cybersecurity

April 21, 2024

Daily News

Black Hat and Def Con 2020 go into ‘safe mode,’ offering a week of virtual trainings, briefings

By Charlie Mitchell / August 3, 2020

The annual Black Hat USA mega-conference has launched as a virtual event with training sessions already underway, and moves into keynotes and briefings Wednesday with an opening speech by researcher Matt Blaze on election security, and on Thursday with a keynote by Renee DiResta of the Stanford Internet Observatory on “Hacking Public Opinion.”

Both days feature a full agenda of online briefings by cyber professionals, including Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Christopher Krebs, who speaks Wednesday on election security.

Blaze, who holds a computer science chair at Georgetown University, on Wednesday will discuss “election integrity during a global pandemic.”

DiResta in her Thursday keynote “will offer an overview of the mechanics of modern-day information operations. … DiResta will demonstrate the ways in which hacking the information environment is similar and different from the kind of intrusions infosec experts normally deal with. She will conclude with a look ahead to the 2020 elections and create a call-to-action for the audience to deploy their skills in the defense of democracy.”

Briefings on Wednesday include sessions on medical devices, supply-chain security, “faulty cyber risk models,” vulnerability disclosure programs, defenses against “adversarial machine learning,” and more. Justin Wynn and Gary Demercurio of Coalfire Systems will discuss their arrest during a pen-testing engagement, which rattled the cybersecurity community in 2019.

On Thursday, briefings will address cloud security, artificial intelligence, “security research on Mercedes-Benz: from hardware to car control,” human factors, and encryption, among other sessions.

There will be a session on lessons from India on supporting women in the InfoSec community, with IBM’s Vandana Verma Sehgal.

A “Locknote” at the end of the day Wednesday and Thursday will cover “conclusions and takeaways” from the sessions.

The annual “CISO Summit” will be conducted online on Tuesday.

The related Def Con 2020 will also be putting on a virtual program, beginning Thursday and running through the weekend.

Black Hat USA in June released results from its sixth annual survey of attendees, finding deep concerns about the lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cybersecurity. -- Charlie Mitchell (