For the first time, Apple will officially be in attendance at the annual Black Hat security conference, which is scheduled to run through Thursday of this week.
This is a notable development for two reasons. First, Apple has never formally attended the conference. Secondly, many of the more prominent stories to emerge out of previous Black Hat events have centered on Apple security. For instance, security researcher Charlie Miller last year explained how a security flaw could potentially give hackers access to a Apple laptop battery. Two years earlier, in 2009, Charlie Miller and Colin Mulliner revealed that they could remotely take over any iPhone with a simple text message comprised of a single character.
In short, just because Apple hasn't officially been a part of the Black Hat security conference doesn't mean that it hasn't been the biggest story to emerge from shows of years past.
Representing Apple at the conference will be Apple platform security manager Dallas De Atley, who is scheduled to deliver a speech on Thursday about the security technologies in iOS.
The description for the talk reads:
Apple designed the iOS platform with security at its core. In this talk, Dallas De Atley, manager of the Platform Security team at Apple, will discuss key security technologies in iOS.
News that De Atley would be speaking first emerged back in June, and interestingly enough, some have speculated that Apple's decision to attend the conference is rooted in their desire to make further inroads in the enterprise market. That is to say that some CIOs may want a more precise explanation of the security measures and technologies inherent in iOS before jumping on board.
It's also possible that Apple wants to regain a bit more control of the security narrative as it relates to its products, especially in light of the Flashback botnet which made headlines earlier this summer after an estimated 600,000 Macs were infected. Further, it's also plausible that Apple recognizes the utility in having a more open relationship with the hacker community.
Apple’s security researchers have lurked the halls at Black Hat and other conferences. But the closest anyone has come to seeing someone from Apple speak on stage was 2008. That’s when a panel of Apple insiders was scheduled to give a talk about the company’s security-response team. The highly anticipated event was abruptly canceled when Apple’s marketing department caught wind of it...
The report also adds that Apple's presence at the conference, regardless of what De Atley discusses, is quite symbolic and, again, indicative of Apple's acknowledgement that it has much to gain from having a more open relationship with the hacker community. To that end, it's also worth noting that Apple over the past year or two has shown an increased willingness to bring hackers into the Cupertino fold, with the most glaring example being its hire of JalbreakMe creator Nicholas Allegra in August of last year.