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Get the inside scoop on the latest strategies, trends and best practices for engaging your audiences and converting your buyers.

Black Hat (aka hacker summer camp) came back in a big way this year. When combined with simultaneous security events like BSides Las Vegas, DEF CON, and SquadCon, among others, the conference drew in a crowd of more than 30,000 to the Las Vegas strip.

But major industry events like Black Hat are about more than vendor booths, keynote speeches, evening parties, and award shows. They’re also a chance for the top minds in cybersecurity to come together and share their thoughts on the latest trends and cyber threats.

Read on to learn more about the top five trends we saw at Black Hat and what you can do to capitalize on them in your own content and media engagements.

The Top 5 Trends We Saw at Black Hat

Trendjacking is one strategy that many marketers use to capitalize on breaking headlines, trending hashtags, or exciting new developments in their industry. However, there’s an art to trendjacking. Not only do you need to know which sources to monitor in order to spot newly developing trends, but you also need to have an execution plan in place in order to jump on the trend while it’s still relevant.

At Merritt Group, we help our clients do this kind of work every day with differentiated messaging and content placements that multiply brand impact.

Following are some of the top trends we saw at Black Hat 2023:

  • Artificial intelligence: It should come as no surprise that generative AI was the buzzword du jour at this year’s conference. Not only was AI the main focus of Maria Markstedter’s, CEO of Azeria Labs, keynote speech, but it was also the subject of a surprise AI Cyber Challenge announcement. Led by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), this two-year competition seeks to create a new generation of AI-powered cybersecurity tools for securing US critical infrastructure and government services. However, it’s important to note that there is still a great deal of debate around the pros and cons of generative AI.
    • Our trendjacking tip? Lean into the generative AI debate with an attention-grabbing opinion column and bold headline that’s designed to spark conversation while positioning your company as a thought leader in AI.
  • Defending forward: Among the security industry, we’ve seen an increased focus on the ethics, legality and effectiveness of “hacking back,” or bringing the fight back to cybercriminals. Also known as “defending forward,” this narrative has cycled in popularity amongst security professionals with many companies hesitant to adopt it as a strategy.
    • Our trendjacking tip? Dig deeper into the controversy and risks behind defending forward as a cybersecurity strategy by conducting an in-depth survey of CISOs. Consider asking about their thoughts on defending forward, if their own company uses it as a strategy and why, their predictions on the future of defending forward, and more. Insights from this survey could then be used to inform a comprehensive research report or engaging webinar.
  • Zero-day attacks: Zero-day attacks are on the rise, and reporters are taking note. Earlier this year, cloud security vendor Akamai released a report stating that the use of zero-day and one-day vulnerabilities has led to a 143% increase in total ransomware victims between Q1 2022 and Q1 2023. However, the answer is not yet clear on what has caused the resurgence of these attacks.
    • Our trendjacking tip? Position your company as an industry problem-solver with a series of informational how-to assets on how organizations can best protect themselves against a zero-day attack as well as tips on how to respond in the event of an attack.
  • Secure by design: Secure by design is a well-established concept in the cybersecurity field, and that theme rang true during this year’s Black Hat conference. In particular, senior advisors from CISA spoke in-depth about the agency’s plan to foster “secure by design” principles within the U.S. technology ecosystem during a dedicated session on the topic.
    • Our trendjacking tip? Put your own spin on the secure by design movement with a thought-provoking case study on how your company aligns to secure by design principles and the impact it has made on you and/or your customers’ business.
  • New SEC rules: New SEC guidelines are set to take effect in December, and the spotlight is on CISOs to comply with the requirement for public companies to disclose within four days all cybersecurity breaches that could affect their bottom lines. However, these rules also mean that board members and C-levels need to understand organizational risk when it comes to cyber, as the new guidelines also require board members to have a cyber background.
    • Our trendjacking tip? The countdown is on as companies race to understand the requirements of these new SEC guidelines and create processes to come into compliance. Your company can enter the conversation with a highly visual roadmap infographic that guides audiences through any important deadlines or benchmarks of the new SEC guidelines.

Want to learn more about our thoughts on the convergence of cybersecurity and media engagements? Check out our security practice group and public relations services to learn how we can help you make an impact in your market.

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