Black Hat

How to not get hacked at Black Hat

Few environments provide a more target-rich environment for cyber criminals than the estimated 17,000 information security experts gathered in Las Vegas this week for the annual Black Hat security conference.

Cyber threats at the show can be abundant.

“We see it all,” Black Hat General Manager Steve Wylie told Fifth Domain. He said the organization has seen everything from malware to infected USB devices lying around. “It all happens at Black Hat and it’s something you need to be hyper vigilant about.”

The higher risk profile makes the organizers' cyber hygiene tips good practice for all users, whether or not they are in Las Vegas for the week.

Here are Wylie’s suggestions for staying safe:

♦ Black Hat builds its own network infrastructure for the event and has a team watching for threats. Wylie said Black Hat’s network security strategy is focused around “segmenting the heck out of the network.” WiFi networks are split up into blocks to spread out risk. Sensitive information, such as the process for registration, has its own protected network.

♦ Individuals should not join open and unsecured networks, which is something that Wylie said “you don’t want to do anywhere, but especially at a place like this.”

♦ After connecting to the Black Hat internet, Wylie advised that users should connect to a virtual private network to maximize security.

The Black Hat general manager also walked Fifth Domain through a sound password strategy. Users should have strong passwords that are different for each account. But he advised visitors to change their passwords before they come to Black Hat. “You don’t want to be logged into the network and changing passwords,” Wylie said.

Two-factor authentication is also highly recommended. When not using Bluetooth or other types of connections, Wylie suggests that users simply shut it off.

“If in doubt, turn off any additional radios that might cause you problems,” Wylie said.

In the past, Black Hat has shut off access for users who have tried to spread malware.

“This is really summer camp for security professionals,” Wylie said. “This is a really unique environment.”

Fifth Domain will be in Las Vegas covering BSides, Black Hat and DefCon. We’d love to meet with you. Message us on Twitter.

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