The 11th annual Black Hat security conference will occupy more space at Caesar's Palace this year in order to accommodate more people, more topics, and, of course, more controversy.
The conference kicked off over the weekend, starting with four days of topic-specific training, before concluding Wednesday and Thursday with two days of public sessions.
If past conferences are any guide, expect the overall total attendance to be more than last year. With that in mind, Black Hat is expanding its footprint within the Caesar's Palace resort here.
But count out at least one prospective attendee. On Sunday, Thomas Dullien, CEO of the German company Sabre Security, reported in his personal blog that he had been denied entry to the U.S. for reasons having to do with H-1B visa regulations. He says that U.S. Customs officials detained him over material he was carrying to Black Hat in order to teach what was billed as an "intense course encompassing binary analysis, reverse engineering and bug finding."
A larger conference means not one but two keynote addresses. One is from Richard Clarke, President Bush's former special adviser on cyberspace security. Clarke, whose 2002 Black Hat keynote speech stated that software vendors and Internet providers must share the blame for malicious software, is now with Good Harbor Security. This year, he will talk about those "who seek truth through science, even when the powerful try to suppress it." The other keynote speaker will be Tony Sager, vulnerability chief of the National Security Agency, who will talk about creating government security standards while working with commercial vendors.
Unlike last year, when Microsoft hosted an entire series of sessions focusing on the yet-to-be released Windows Vista platform, there will be no similar tracks offered this year. Returning tracks include sessions on voice services security, forensics, hardware, zero-day attacks and zero-day defenses. New tracks include operating system kernels, application security, reverse engineering, fuzzing and the testing of application security.
But it's the individual sessions that could get heated.
Several presenters are familiar to Black Hat attendees and not without controversy. Neal Krawetz is returning to tackle image forensics, showing how to peel back the layers to find less-than-obvious manipulation; Dan Kaminsky is presenting his annual Black Ops survey; and Phil Zimmerman is returning to talk once again about his vision of a secure telephone for the Internet, called the Z Phone.
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