Must-See Sessions at the Black Hat USA 2023 Conference

The Black Hat logo. This blog post looks at must-see sessions for Black Hat 2023.

Premier cybersecurity conference Black Hat USA 2023 is coming up in a few weeks, making this a good time to take a look at some of the highlights. The conference will run from Aug. 5-10 in Las Vegas.

Not surprisingly, AI is a huge theme at this year’s conference, making it paramount for security teams to understand how the technology intersects with cybersecurity. For that reason, don’t skip the keynote: “Guardians of the AI Era: Navigating the Cybersecurity Landscape of Tomorrow,” on Wednesday, Aug. 9. The speaker is Maria Markstedter, founder of security training firm Azeria Labs.

Not only will Markstedter delve into the potential benefits and risks of generative AI, but she’ll also discuss how the fast and furious pace of AI development will impact the ability to navigate new attack surfaces.

Along those lines, there will be a track on “How Does Generative AI Actually Help Cybersecurity,” on Tuesday, Aug. 8. This will be a primer on what generative AI is and how executives can begin to start prepping their organizations to take advantage of AI’s strengths. The speakers are Curt Franklin, principal analyst at tech markets research firm Omdia, and Ketai Borade, senior analyst of infrastructure security at Omdia.

How the U.S. and Ukraine Ensure Digital Infrastructure is Secured

Also on the 8th, you should make a point of attending the fireside chat with Jen Easterly, director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and Viktor Zhora, deputy chairman of the State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection of Ukraine on Digital Development, Digital Transformations and Digitalization (COTO).

Zhora is responsible for cybersecurity for Ukraine’s digital infrastructure, and also supervises digital transformation and cybersecurity projects, among other things. It will be especially illuminating to hear how to protect the digital infrastructure of a country at war.

Securing the U.S. infrastructure will also be front and center during a keynote Thursday, 8/10, by Kemba Walden, acting national cyber director of the Executive Office of the President. Walden will get into the nitty-gritty of the National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan and the National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy.

The start of the conference (Saturday, Aug. 5 through Tuesday, Aug. 8) will be mainly devoted to Network Operations Center (NOC) training.

Budgets and Pain Points

Many security and IT leaders will find that Tuesday’s keynote address, “Cybersecurity: Maximum Attention, Minimum Budget,” resonates. Speaker Maxine Holt, senior director of research Omdia, will discuss the curious fact that even though security has a very high profile in the organization, CISOs often don’t see their budgets increase—and sometimes, they are asked to do more with less.

Holt will also talk about the business drivers focusing attention on security, both globally and regionally, and how CISOs and vendors/service providers can advocate for budgets that are more in line with the ability to support organizational security over security and provide return on security investments.

Why Data Security Needs Formal Management

At the “Data Security 2.0: The Rise of Data Security Posture Management” session Tuesday, speaker Adam Strange, a principal analyst at Omdia, will discuss the firm’s stance that global data privacy regulation (and fines for data breaches or data loss) is coming.

Data security is no longer a peripheral element within a wider cybersecurity posture but has evolved into a more centralized, fundamental role. Strange will also highlight new roles and resources security teams should put in place to manage the way data is protected, how to increase governance around data security, and new tools, techniques, and approaches to protect data stores.

He’ll make the case for dedicated data security posture management (DSPM)—what it is and why Omdia believes it is the future of data security–as the world moves rapidly into the cloud.

Black Hat is chock-full of other worthwhile sessions. In part two, we’ll examine more of them.

About the author: Esther Shein is a longtime freelance tech and business writer and editor whose work has appeared in several publications, including, TechRepublic, VentureBeat, ZDNet, TechTarget, The Boston Globe and Inc. She has also written thought leadership whitepapers, ebooks, case studies and marketing materials.

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