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Black Hat Europe Briefings Tracks
AI, ML, & Data Science
The focus of the AI, ML, and Data Science track is to cover the subject in a way that provides value for security professionals. Topics for the track can range from attacking and defending systems implementing AI to applying AI for better attacks, defenses, or detections. Submissions for the track should have the AI/ML functionality playing a key role in the submission. Regardless of the topic, the content for the track should have a heavy focus on applied concepts that attendees can use after the conference is over.
Anywhere developers are shipping code, Black Hat is interested. Everything from web application security to the Security Development Lifecycle (SDLC) to Web3 decentralized applications lives in this track. Good topics include broad-based, novel attacks against web technologies, programming languages, or ecosystems, especially when accompanied by offensive and/or defensive tooling. We are also keen for objective, data-driven research or case studies around secure development practices (train, develop, deploy, run, scale, respond) with actionable recommendations attendees can apply to improve their product security.
Cloud & Platform Security
This track focuses on security issues affecting the full system platform stack (firmware, hypervisor, and operating system) of computing platforms powering everything from embedded systems to modern desktops to the cloud. The track focuses on topics such as: software attacks against modern client and server operating systems; hypervisor and firmware vulnerabilities; security coprocessor and secure enclave weaknesses in modern CPU and System-on-Chip architectures; microarchitectural and hardware-enabled attacks against CPU, memory, or other subsystems; and at-scale supply chain security issues such as build system compromises or exploitation of pervasive open source vulnerabilities. This track also encourages presentations on novel defenses that feasibly mitigate presently known or unknown instances of these classes of attacks – especially if these defenses can scale and/or have scaled to effectively protect various ranges of platforms ranging from mobile phones to cloud-scale infrastructure with acceptable power, performance, and compatibility impact.
Community & Career
The Community & Career track aims to provide a forum for idea sharing and discussion on relevant issues impacting the cybersecurity community. Topics may include but are not limited to diversity, inclusion, careers, family, legal issues, attribution, substance abuse, mental health, burn out, security awareness, and work-life balance. Talks in this track should provide insights that help the cybersecurity community better understand challenges faced by current and prospective participants and bring forward constructive and creative ideas for solutions. These talks can also be designed to support and guide individuals new to cybersecurity or wishing to become more engaged. Session formats for this track can be more open and flexible (such as virtual sessions, fireside chats, etc.). Join us!
The Cryptography track aims to do for cryptography what Black Hat's Exploit Development track does for software security: to be the industry's premiere venue for practical, real-world advances in cryptography informed by an attacker's sensibility. A Black Hat Cryptography Track talk will almost always be backed up with running code. We prize offensive cryptography and cryptanalysis but will host defensive and research cryptography when rooted in a context of real-world attacks. We're an especially good place to send new vulnerabilities in cryptographic protocols like TLS, cryptographic hardware like HSMs and smart cards, and cryptographic primitives like SHA-1.
A cyber-physical system (CPS) is any system where one, or more, computing elements monitor, manage and control a physical process. Subjects for the track may include industrial control systems, smart homes/buildings/cities applications, commercial and wearable IoT devices, various types of self-driving vehicles and more. These systems share common characteristics with their threat models relating to the physical process and similarly linked attacker goals. Attacks and defense mechanisms need to encompass both the physical and digital sides of the systems. Talks in this track are directed at specific CPSs or on the concept as a whole, focusing on systemic attacks and defenses. Note that the CPS topics with a prominent research component focused on, e.g., hardware/firmware or data, may fit better in other primary tracks such as Hardware/Embedded or AI.
Data Forensics and Incident Response
The DFIR track will consist of topics and techniques used to assist defenders in responding to a variety of security incidents in on-premise, hybrid, and cloud environments. These topics may include, but aren't limited to, identification of compromised systems, digital evidence collection, network, host, malware analysis, threat intelligence, and threat hunting. Focus should be on techniques and procedures that can help defenders understand how an attack unfolded, if and when a breach occurred, and how it can be prevented in the future.
For every successful attack that hits the news, there's a defender out there, lurking in the dark, having just stopped another fifty. As cyber permeates everything in our daily lives, the stakes have never been higher, especially in the new world of a remote workforce sharing systems with their young distance learners, across perimeter-less and zero trust networks. How can we tip the balance to favor the Blue Team in their daily battle against chaos, data loss, or even lives lost? What new technologies should we look at, before attackers do? What are new approaches to consider, while keeping up with this ever-changing perimeter and the rapid introduction of new attack surfaces?
This track welcomes talks on practical, effective, and scalable security isolation technologies and exploit mitigations, at the compiler or platform level, as well as tools and techniques offering enhanced visibility, management, visualization, and data processing of any part of the kill chain, with the goal of disrupting and diminishing attacker capabilities and toolsets. Attendees, passionate about defense, are expected to rapidly take away practical new skills in the trade and join in the conversation on creatively addressing the future.
Enterprise Security is a track that covers research into the security of IT infrastructure and endpoint fleets. Enterprise Security includes device management and MDMs, directory and SSO identity services, orchestration and patch management, email, and storage networks. If it's new research targeting systems companies run to support team members, rather than the applications they provide or the operating systems themselves, the Enterprise Security track is probably a natural home for it.
Exploit Development submissions are welcome across a wide array of technologies and targets from cloud to mobile devices. We are particularly interested in innovative and novel approaches that cover new exploit delivery mechanisms, code execution techniques, focus on new targets, or defeat existing exploit mitigations such as CET or XFG. Submissions shouldn't be constrained to memory safety issues, but these often resonate well with our audience. Bypasses for next generation hardware architectures such as CHERI, or virtualization-based security mechanisms, are highly regarded.
Hardware / Embedded
The Hardware / Embedded track is centered around attacks on hardware, firmware, and embedded devices. We're also interested in the security (and insecurity) of things like exotic hardware, autonomous vehicles, IoT, robotics, medical devices, voting machines, and other unique hardware-centric targets. Purpose-built, modded, or otherwise hacked hardware that solves (or creates) new security problems is pretty cool, too.
The Human Factors track focuses on people in security: how their decisions can affect the security of the organization, and how engineering and technology can help. This includes the way people make decisions and how to influence those decisions as an attacker or defender. It also includes how to reduce their decision load and the organizational (and potentially economic) factors that surround those decisions. This track welcomes submissions on how to get individuals or groups to act against their interest, including the use of disinformation or misinformation. It also includes new ways to strengthen technology and other solutions to decrease harm. This track is not about career development, BOFH stories, simple ploys like buying a UPS outfit, or sploits to make the browser draw a fake UI.
This track welcomes submissions that cover topics and techniques that can be immediately applied to attendee/enterprise environments after returning home from the conference. Topics can still be cutting edge but shouldn't require complex plans to deploy or implement. Submissions should focus on security processes, technologies, and implementations that follow best practices and can be easily introduced into an attendee's organization. Talks in this track help attendees "apply" proven and tested ideas to their systems after attending Black Hat.
The Malware track focuses on both the defensive and offensive aspects of malware development. The defensive malware talks are centered around current malware; analysis, anti-analysis techniques, detection, remediation, and technical discussions on bypasses or broken functionality within anti-malware tools. The offensive malware talks are centered around; malware development, novel execution techniques, and obfuscation. We are most interested in talks that detail prevailing malicious attacks, recent attacks with high impact, malware targeting newer platforms, or new techniques on both the offensive and defensive side of malware development without a product pitch.
The mobile track encompasses everything mobile, including all layers of phones (OS, baseband, hardware, software, apps), mobile infrastructure, mobile device management, telecommunications protocols, GPS, etc. Talks in this track should cover a security feature, novel technique, new concept or research unique to the mobile space. Submissions where mobile is only one of many use cases, are generally not suitable for this track.
Talks in this track should tackle network defense issues related to protecting users or assets. Traditionally, this includes the vast array of NIDS, HIDS, IPS, SEIM, Firewalls, VPNs, etc., as well as the hardware components, like routers, switches, Wi-Fi and so on. Cloud computing networks and more exotic networks, like CAN Bus, ad-hoc networking and so on are included. We are looking specifically for novel means of deployment, detection, correlation, or protection of attacks that is both unique and ideally practical for use in protecting networks. Attendees of Network track talks should walk away with ideas on how to defend themselves and a better understanding of the threat landscape with ideas on areas to research.
The Policy track features aspects of information security that span across organizations and generally aren't a fix you code or plug in: everything from political, technology, or economic policies to technical standards, laws, and norms of behavior. We welcome your research and risk-based findings about security impacts of policy or legislation on attackers and defenders; unintended consequences of policy or technical choices; metrics for assessing whether attacker or defenders have the upper hand; and proposed public policies against new or stubborn security threats or those requiring coordination at scale. Successful submissions will include novel insights, backed by actual research, not just soap-box opinions or complaints. This track is not about success for a single organization, such as with corporate policies or compliance, which typically belong in the Enterprise track, or human-centered talks, which belong in Human Factors.
The Privacy track is intended to highlight new research into privacy vulnerabilities and ideas that help build products & solutions with privacy in mind. Examples of technical topics particularly suited to the Privacy track might include privacy-by-design, new attacks on privacy-preserving technology systems, subversion of privacy compliance management systems to benefit attackers, new de-masking/deanonymization methods, or the exploitation of unique vulnerabilities arising from privacy considerations. Attorneys who submit may benefit from having a technical co-author. The Privacy track is not intended to be a substitute for the Cryptography, Policy, or any other track, but rather to complement them.
"Reverse engineering is the process of extracting the knowledge or design blueprints from anything man-made and reproducing it or reproducing anything based on the extracted information." — Eldad Eilam
Talks in the Reverse Engineering Track may include subjects such as vulnerability discovery, data visualization, advanced exploitation techniques, bypassing security and software protections, and reverse engineering of hardware, software, and protocols.