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A Letter from Hacker Summer Camp (#BHUSA2018)

Dear Cyber Enthusiast,

Greetings from Black Hat 2018! The crowd that’s descended on this year’s conference seems bigger than ever – and more diverse than the highly technical, research-oriented attendees that have come to this event for the past twenty years.  Since Monday, aside from seeing thousands of technical pros and vendors of infosec products and services, I’ve run into senior executives, venture capitalists, attorneys, and Wall Street analysts. Even state and local economic development agencies, from Virginia, Maryland and Texas (among others), are here to entice entrepreneurs to set down roots in their locations.

A few hot topics generating buzz include a session on hacking smart cities, an update on hacking autonomous vehicles from the infamous Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek (think Jeep Cherokee from Black Hat 2015), and an interesting, human slant not previously discussed―the mental and emotional health toll that many security professionals face from the relentless stress of their jobs. When an industry gets this big, important and diverse, it’s really important to examine challenges its workforce faces. I applaud Black Hat for bringing this discussion to the forefront.

Although there are sessions across the cyber spectrum, the tenor of the conference is still mostly offense-focused. Just reviewing the schedule tells you a lot about the main subjects of interest, which appeal to the hacking set –it almost feels like a guide on how to compromise things!

While there are still toy drones and tee-shirt give-aways, conference fun is also branching out. Just last evening, W2 Communications attended a ShieldX-hosted networking event at the MGM Grand’s Topgolf; tonight, Cisco is hosting another. It’s an innovative approach beyond the typical cocktail reception. And a chance to work on your swing!

The important lesson for communications pros? Be mindful of how the audience at any trade event can shift and be ready to adjust your efforts, in real time and for next year’s planning.

OK, now it’s back to the wilds of the Expo Hall.

Signing off from camp! Yours Truly,


Cybersecurity Conferences 2018

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