By May Huang on August 17, 2023

Highlights and key takeaways from Black Hat 2023

Black Hat was back this year, and bigger than ever! The #HWCybersquad spent a week in Vegas supporting clients, attending sessions, meeting reporters, and taking in “Hacker Summer Camp.” Here’s what we learned: 

  • AI continues to drive conversations: AI commanded a central role throughout the event. Out of the gates, Wednesday’s opening keynote emphasized the need to seriously consider the prospect of autonomous AI agents becoming a reality within enterprises and the security threat that poses. The general sentiment around AI was cautious optimism, with many discussing the value and benefits of AI but need for regulation as it evolves. 
  • Microsoft is under scrutiny: The industry is monitoring Microsoft’s security posture closely. During Wednesday’s keynote, Markstedter pointed out that Microsoft is one of the main vendors moving AI forward so quickly it’s making it hard for security to keep up. Following the show, many industry experts across the event stated they believe it’s time to start holding Microsoft, and other big tech players, accountable for their influence and impact on the overall cybersecurity ecosystem. 
  • DEF CON Domination: DEF CON attracted more attention than Black Hat this year, with all eyes on the AI Hacking Village that saw thousands of hackers find flaws in today’s top generative AI models. With the White House’s presence felt throughout the event, some believe DEF CON is evolving into a more government-focused event.  

Learn how the Highwire security team breaks though the noise


Additional Key Themes/Trends worth noting:

  • The White House is upping its cybersecurity investment: Keynotes from Jen Easterly and Kemba Walden reinforced that the White House is taking cybersecurity more seriously through new public and private partnerships, like DARPA’s AI Cyber Challenge. 
  • Securing Open Source Software: In tandem with Kemba Walden’s keynote, government agencies announced an RFI on how they can create realistic policies to improve open source security. 
  • Cyber Community Rallies Around Election Security: In “Voting Village” at DEF CON, many – including CISA – are looking at how the industry can improve the physical security of election workers following the events of 2020 election. 

We’ll continue to monitor how these trends evolve and influence what’s top of mind for security decision makers. And if we didn’t catch you at Black Hat this time round, let’s connect next year!

Published by May Huang August 17, 2023