The Summer Siren Song: What I’m Looking Forward to at Black Hat USA 2017

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Every year, around mid-July I get excited. It could be the warm weather, but more than likely it’s due to Black Hat. Ever since I started my career in information security, Black Hat has been the siren song for hackers around the globe. Like moths to the flame, security practitioners flock to Black Hat for the opportunity to combine highly technical content, networking opportunities, and debauchery in one place. This year, I was fortunate enough to be part of the Black Hat Review Board. This was an amazing experience that I hope to repeat in the coming years. Being part of the Review Board gave me a unique opportunity to review talks that I found particularly interesting. In this blog, I’ll share a summary of the talks I find most enticing, and why.

Adventures in Attacking Wind Farm Control Networks by Jason Staggs

Date and Time: Wednesday, July 26 | 10:30am-10:55am | Lagoon ABCGHI

Plain and simple, this talk looks awesome. An area of research I’ve focused on for years is operational technology like SCADA devices. This talk covers an area that has flown under the radar for several years – wind farms. Jason promises that this talk will cover wind farm control system networks and how to compromise them. Who doesn’t want to hear and learn about compromising giant, bladed structures? I do!

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Breaking the Laws of Robotics: Attacking Industrial Robots by a whole bunch of great researchers

Date and Time: Thursday, July 27 | 11:00am-11:50am | Mandalay Bay AB

Before Skynet became aware, industrial robots were running the world. Industrial robots control most of our daily lives, whether we like it or not. In this talk, several researchers plan to cover vulnerabilities related to industrial robots and networking equipment. SCADA environment and technology vulnerabilities have been widely discussed in the past, but these researchers are promising to bring a new research perspective, which seems promising. Anything that involves compromising robots, I’m there.

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RBN Reloaded- Amplifying Signals From The Underground by Dhia Mahjoub, David Rodriguez & Jason Passwaters

Date and Time: Thursday, July 27 | 5:00pm-5:25pm | Mandalay Bay CD

Being a researcher primarily focused on threat intelligence, I’m a sucker for talks that demonstrate new ways of performing hunting, intelligence gathering, human intelligence (HUMINT), and signals intelligence (SIGINT). This talk will showcase some new methodologies for network and actor intelligence gathering. Also, it appears the talk is going to introduce some interesting topics regarding bulletproof hosting (BPH) services which are always interesting.

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Cracking The Lens: Targeting HTTP’s Hidden Attack Surface by James Kettle

Date and Time: Wednesday, July 26 | 4:00pm-4:50pm | Mandalay Bay GH

Any new attack methodology that include HTTP or HTTPS automatically gets my attention. Given that the world relies on these communication protocols, this talk seems interesting. James plans to reveal hidden systems using malformed requests and headers… And to sweeten the pot, he’s also releasing a new Burp Suite extension called Collaborator Everywhere. New Burp Suite extension on top of revealing hidden systems with fundamental protocol weakness? Sounds awesome to me!

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“Friday the 13th: JSON Attacks” by Alvaro Muñoz & Oleksandr Mirosh

Thursday, July 27 | 2:30pm-3:20pm | Mandalay Bay EF

And my personal winner for the best title of the year for Black Hat USA 2017: Amazing.

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