Black Hat, DEF CON, and BSides 2019: Highlights and Emerging Industry Trends

Black Hat, DEF CON, and BSides 2019: Highlights and Emerging Industry Trends

As Hacker Summer Camp comes to a close, we sat down with a few friends in the security space to discuss the major highlights from Black Hat, DEF CON, and BSides and what have emerged as the latest industry trends over the past week.

I was joined by Fahmida Rashid, the senior managing editor at, and award-winning journalist and security researcher Steve Ragan at the end of Black Hat for this discussion. Here are our takeaways:

Hacking for social good

One of our favorite talks at Black Hat this year was Bruce Schneider’s “Hacking for Social Good” track. The topic stood out as not your typical Black Hat discussion, since these talks tend to revolve around zero-day attacks, using ATMs to steal money, and the like. According to Schneider, we can use the same methods hackers use to do evil to actually do good in the world and make it a better place.

In fact, many presenters, researchers, and leaders at Black Hat this year were determined to shift the mindset of Black Hat to one of defending, helping, and making things better in the world—not just hacking to hack or to be malicious. We also saw this trend at DEF CON and, as expected, in many BSides events.

This is a much-needed and underutilized approach to security because most individuals are vulnerable to attacks and they don’t even know it (let alone what to do when they’ve actually been attacked). This is one of our biggest opportunities as a security community to do good and reach outside of our echo chamber to help the vulnerable population learn how to protect themselves.

Bob Lord’s talk at BSides took a similar stan ..