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The summer is nearly in our rear view and that can only mean one thing: Black Hat is here. With the majority of the security industry set to flood Mandalay Bay next week, the buzz is hitting fever pitch. From compelling keynotes and demos on the show floor, to hacked WiFi and parties galore, Black Hat is the place to be when it comes to the hottest cyber security research and trends.

But what sets this year’s show apart from past events? To uncover why Black Hat 2018 is not to be missed, we polled some of our key security influencers to get a pulse on what they’re most looking forward to this year and why.

Here’s what they had to say…

I’m looking forward to getting a look at all the new kinds of security technology out there, (as well all the ways it can be broken). New forms of authentication whether they be biometric, voice or something else, are a big interest of mine. And, of course, the best part of Black Hat is being able to kick back with interesting people, have a few drinks and talk about how we would solve the world’s biggest cybersecurity problems.” – Bree Fowler, Consumer Reports

“Black Hat is a conference I usually leave having learned something. That’s not always true, even with big conferences.” Joe Uchill, Axios

“I am interested in how the industry (practitioners and vendors) can improve cyber security policy definition and enforcement. I am also interested in cyber security as a public policy issue, especially around the US military and DoD.” Hugh Taylor, Journal of Cyber Policy

“Black Hat is a bit like Wimbledon or the World Cup – there are important developments happening in different locations all through the day, and it’s hard to track them all. The Dark Reading News Desk helps to digest and provide commentary on the talks/disclosures as they happen.

In terms of what developments we are watching most closely, the vulnerabilities in the Internet of Things are probably the most visible – threats to air traffic control, voting machines, stock platforms – these are all huge concerns and I’m sure will get a lot of attention. From a more fundamental IT perspective, though, there will also be a range of microprocessor vulnerabilities unveiled, and these are concerning because most of our enterprise security defenses don’t detect hardware attacks at that level.” – Tim Wilson, Dark Reading

“What I would be looking forward to and what I do at the show are two different things…. I am always looking for cool new tech and ways to solve existing problems or at least reduce risk from those threats. Not so much the boutique or niche problems, as there are always new vendors looking to solve a sliver of a problem. These shows are an opportunity for analysts to met the people they talk to at the shows, build relationships and have off the record conversations about the industry as a whole and new threat methods. Each of these as well as the seminars that I do not get an opportunity to attend, is an opportunity to share information, hopefully valuable information, which security people are traditionally and notoriously bad at.  It’s an opportunity to change the security culture to adapt faster and address the needs of the whole, which the bad threat actors are good at.” David Monahan, EMA

“I’m looking forward to seeing the return of Charlie Miller & Chris Valasek talk once again about car hacking (especially since last time they were at Black Hat they said it was their final talk). I’m always eager to visit and talk to researchers at the Black Hat arsenal, seeing new tools and learning about new techniques. Finally, though the sessions and the arsenal are my primary areas of focus, I do look forward to seeing what the vendors in the exhibit hall will be saying and demonstrating this year.”  – Sean Kerner, eWEEK

“I look forward to getting a sense of the most significant cybersecurity risks and threats associated with the 2018 midterm elections in November.”  Michael Novinson, CRN

“I’m mostly interested in three things this year: talks about the security issues created by new interfaces (such as Amichai Shulman’s talk on hacking with Cortana voice commands); vulnerabilities and solutions for the expanding IoT universe; and anything that makes the tasks of threat hunting and securing systems easier for the masses. Anything that makes blue team and purple team life better, for government or business, is going to be of interest. And stop calling it AI when it’s just ML.” – Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica

“What I’m looking forward to most at Black Hat are the sessions because they’re usually very informative for my own work and it’s always interesting to see that other people are researching. I’m especially excited for the briefing on applied self-driving car security by Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek. I’m also looking forward to getting to see some of the people I’ve met at the event over the last few years and have in-person meetings with clients and other companies I cover.” – Patrick Daly, 451 Research 

From networking with security experts and facetiming with clients to exploring new cyber solutions and partying it up with the pros, Black Hat is a must-attend conference year after year. We’re packing our bags for Vegas – are you?

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