July 29, 2017

BlackHat USA 2017: the quiet before the storm?

by Richard Kirk, 4iQ CRO

BlackHat 2017, hosted in the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Convention Centre, has come and gone, what happened in Vegas probably left with the hackers, and even more companies were showing off their latest cyber security solutions.

In the past two years the number of exhibitors at the event has doubled, and after walking around the exhibition hall I couldn’t help thinking that many of the new companies were trying to sell a better mouse trap. Customers I met were asking where is the innovation? To celebrate the 20th anniversary of BlackHat, we set out to find this.

4iQ at BlackHat 2017As usual there were some brilliant talks on offer, including a key note speech by Alex Stamos, the CSO of Facebook. Alex has been in the security business for as long as BlackHat has been going, and given his role in Facebook, he has a unique perspective.

Alex’s key message was that the security community as a whole is not yet firing on all cylinders, and that we need to put ourselves in the shoes of our customers, both internal and external. We need to remember that beyond the halls of BlackHat, most people do not truly understand the information security world.

Despite walking the halls, not much innovation appeared to be on offer. The highlights, which were seen at the show last year, include more of an effort to apply AI and machine learning to various aspects of information security. Examples include trying to automate SOCs, as well as vastly improving threat intelligence with some form of predictive analytics.

Otherwise, the highlight of the conference was the vast array of cool talks and amazing hacks on offer. Perhaps this is why most people attend the show.