Black Hat: If it ain't broke, it's just a matter of time

This year's Black Hat Briefings will tackle OS security — or lack of it — in Windows and iOS. Mobile devices and industrial control systems get a lot of attention, too.

LAS VEGAS — Government IT professionals attending this week’s Black Hat Briefings will get a look at new research ranging from the security of Windows and Apple operating systems to vulnerabilities in industrial control systems and mobile devices.

This year’s briefings feature seven technical tracks and two workshop tracks with more than 250 presenters, not to mention keynotes each day. Presenters are scheduled to release 36 tools and reveal 17 zero-day exploits, and conference organizers still did not get everything in.

“We had more content submitted this year than we have ever seen before,” said Black Hat General Manager Trey Ford. Four or five presentations were rejected for every one accepted.


Related stories:

BYOD security: Are agencies doomed to a permanent game of catch-up?

Critical industries don’t grasp IT risks, study shows


Black Hat, being held July 25 and 26 at Caesars Palace, is a tech-heavy conference focused on breaking things (one of this year’s tracks is called “Breaking Things”) rather than on defense (although there also is a track on “Defense”).

On the government side, recently retired FBI executive assistant director Shawn Henry, who headed cyber criminal investigations at the bureau, will deliver the opening keynote on the threats facing today’s networks. Mark Weatherford, head of the Homeland Security Department’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, will give a talk on research and training opportunities at DHS.

Agencies facing the challenges of enabling mobility and of employees bringing their own devices into the enterprise will get a look at the security status of these devices.

“There is a huge emphasis on mobile this year,” Ford said. “The cell phone is now a full-fledged computer.” Mobile gets its own track in which cellular protocols and reverse engineering of microcells are examined.

The operating systems underlying many devices also will get a close examination, including Apple’s iOS mobile operating system in a highly anticipated first-time presentation from Apple.

“Apple has never spoken in public about security,” Ford said. But this year the company submitted a talk on iOS security by Dallas De Atley, manager of Apple’s platform security team.

There also is a talk on "The Dark Art of iOS Application Hacking," by Jonathan Zdziarski, senior forensic scientist at the security firm viaForensics. He will look at how iOS applications are infected, how objects are manipulated and abused, and other ways to steal data from the devices.

Microsoft does not get ignored, and Chris Valasek of Coverity and Tarjei Mandt of Azimuth Security are giving a talk on “Windows 8 Heap Internals.” They have been banging away on the next version of the OS since the release of the Consumer Preview in September. They will be looking at how techniques for exploit mitigations are transitioning from Windows 7 to Windows 8, at both the user and kernel level.

Critical infrastructure also is being examined, with looks at backdoors in industrial firmware by Ruben Santamarta of IOActive Labs and smart meter vulnerabilities by Don C. Weber of InGuardians.

Weber originally was scheduled to give his talk on smart meters at SchmooCon in January, but it was cancelled because of concern by equipment vendors and utilities. “We have worked with them,” Weber said. “They should be OK with this . . . .” But last-minute cancellations, voluntary and otherwise, are not unheard of at Black Hat.

JavaScript exploits and SCADA vulnerabilities also will be discussed and are expected to remain hot areas of research for the foreseeable future, Ford said. “It’s going to stay relevant in this space for another five years, minimum,” he said.

And just for fun, best-selling author Neal Stephenson will be interviewed for the July 26 keynote. If you don’t know who he is (“Cryptonomicon,” “Snow Crash,” “Reamde”), trust me, he’s a big deal with the kind people who come to Black Hat.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.