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  8/15/07 - Black Hat Training Standards

by Jeff Moss

At Black Hat Training, we take pride in the quality of instruction we make available. We know that there are plenty of shows available in the field of information security, and we believe that the loyalty shown by our delegates is based in large part on the timely, technical and relevant training that we offer.

We make every effort to ensure that trainers are a good fit with our audience—in terms of technical depth, in terms of trainer skill and in terms of content relevance. We take pains to study the many submissions we receive and eliminate trainers who are a poor fit for our delegates, but there is only so much we can know until the actual presentation has been made for the first time.

testIt's also important that we keep our training fresh and leading-edge. This requires us to keep expanding the number of available trainers, and to keep expanding the pool from which we draw our trainers. This means that we will often take risks on trainers new to us. Our speaker retention record shows that we've chosen well in the vast majority of cases, but it's inevitable that we will sometimes take a chance on a trainer that turns out not to meet our audience's expectations.

We don't decide to drop a trainer lightly. Any trainer can have a bad day, and long-term relationships with trainers require a certain amount of understanding when things go awry. There are times, however, when the information we receive from delegates demands immediate action.

"We don't decide to drop a trainer lightly"

There is a brand new trainer at the 2007 BH USA that we will be removing from consideration for next year. We're doing this based on negative feedback in the areas of content, professionalism and vendor neutrality. The removal isn't personal, but the level of delegate disappointment and frustration in this case forces our hand. We remain open to reinstatement if the vendor can demonstrate major improvement in all the aforementioned areas.

It's our hope that this explanation of our process, and expectations will make it clear to trainers what we expect, and to our delegates that we are sensitive to their concerns and willing to take strong and immediate action to protect our reputation and their satisfaction.

The Halvar Conundrum

Thomas Dullien, known in security circles as Halvar Flake, was scheduled to conduct a training class and a briefing at this year's Black Hat USA. His presentations were highly anticipated, both because Halvar is one of the foremost reverse engineers in the world and because he's been a popular speaker at the conference for the past seven years... read more


Until early this week, security experts Nitin and Vipin Kumar of NV Labs were scheduled to present a briefing entitled "TPMkit: Breaking the Legend of Trusted Computing (TC [TPM]) and Vista (BitLocker)"... read more

The Black Page is always looking for concise and interesting comments from researchers and experts about issues that affect the security community. Contact us here to learn more about submission rules.

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