For 2012, the Black Hat USA event received more speaking proposal submissions than in any previous year. According to Ford, there were approximately 500 proposals this year, up by over 100 from last year. Talks have been selected by a Black Hat review board comprised of 21 people.
According to Black Hat, General Manager Trey Ford, one of the standout talks at this year’s event is titled “PINPADPWN” and will cover pin pad terminal exploits. The talk is being delivered by security researchers Rafael Dominguez Vega and “Nils” (who goes by his first name only). Nils is famous in the security community for hacking all major browsers within minutes in dramatic fashion at the 2009 Pwn2Own hacking event. At Black Hat 2011, a different set of researchers presented some preliminary research about how to hack chip and pin card readers.
Another talk that Ford is looking forward to is titled “Ghost in the Air (Traffic),” by security researcher Andrei Constin.
“It’s a talk about the ADSP peer-to-peer protocol used by aircraft to communicate their position and velocity,” Ford explained. “The ramifications are farily widespread and it’s a great example of how you need to bring researchers into the design process to help solve security.”
Apple has been a Black Hat topic for many years. At the Black Hat 2007 event, researcher Charlie Miller publicly hacked the first generation iPhone at the live event, marking the first exploit of Apple’s mobile device. Every year since then, researchers have poked holes in Apple’s security.
2012 will be a bit different. For the first time ever, an Apple employee will be publicly presenting. Dallas de Atley, Manager of the Platform Security Team at Apple, is scheduled to present a talk on iOS Security. Apple researchers have been scheduled to talk at Black Hat in the past, though none of those planned talks actually panned out.
“We have received assurance that they will talk this year,” Ford said. “Apple wants to partner with Black Hat to communicate that they take security seriously and this is a great opportunity for them to come out and start sharing some of that conversation with us.”