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Anticipating Black Hat 2014

Cybersecurity event brings together an army of infosec nerds with a focus on threats, vulnerabilities, and innovative defenses.

RSA 2014 seems like ancient history, and the 2015 event isn’t until next April.  No worries however, the industry is set to gather in the Las Vegas heat next week for cocktails, sushi bars, and oh yeah – Black Hat.

Now, Black Hat is an interesting blend of constituents consisting of government gum shoes, Sand Hill Rd. Merlot-drinking VCs, cybersecurity business wonks, “beautiful mind” academics, and tattooed hackers – my kind of crowd! As such, we aren’t likely to hear much about NIST frameworks, GRC, or CISO strategies. Alternatively, I am looking forward to deep discussions on:

  • Advanced malware tactics. Some of my favorite cybersecurity researchers will be in town to describe what they are seeing “in the wild.” These discussions are extremely informative and scary at the same time. This is where industry analysts like me learn about the latest evasion techniques, man-in-the-browser attacks, and whether mobile malware will really impact enterprise organizations. 
  • The anatomy of various security breaches.  Breaches at organizations like the New York Times, Nordstrom, Target, and the Wall Street Journal receive lots of media attention, but the actual details of attacks like these are far too technical for business publications or media outlets like CNN and Fox News.  These “kill chain” details are exactly what we industry insiders crave as they provide play-by-play commentary about the cybersecurity cat-and-mouse game we live in.
  • Threat intelligence.  All of the leading infosec vendors (i.e. Blue Coat, Cisco, Check Point, HP, IBM, Juniper, McAfee, RSA, Symantec, Trend Micro, Webroot etc.) have been offering threat intelligence for years, yet threat intelligence will be one of the major highlights at Black Hat.  Why?  Because not all security and/or threat intelligence is created equally.  Newer players like BitSight, Crowdstrike, iSight Partners, Norse, RiskIQ, and Vorstack are slicing and dicing threat intelligence and customizing it for specific industries and use cases.  Other vendors like Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks are actively sharing threat intelligence and encouraging other security insiders to join.  Finally, there is a global hue and cry for intelligence sharing that includes industry standards (i.e. CybOX, STIX, TAXII, etc.) and even pending legislation.  All of these things should create an interesting discourse. 
  • Big data security analytics.  This is an area I follow closely that is changing on a daily basis.  It’s also an interesting community of vendors.  Some (i.e. 21CT, ISC8, Leidos, Lockheed-Martin, Norse, Palantir, Raytheon, etc.), come from the post 9/11 “total information access” world, while others (Click Security, HP, IBM, Lancope, LogRhythm, RSA, etc.) are firmly rooted in the infosec industry.  I look forward to a lively discussion about geeky topics like algorithms, machine learning, and visual analytics. 

Las Vegas is simultaneously one of the most fun and banal places on earth, but next week it will become a hotbed of cybersecurity intrigue, intelligence, and brainpower.  It’s likely to be 115 degrees in the shade, but I can’t wait to get there. 

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