back to article Ten years after the sellout, Black Hat is solidly corporate and that’s fine

When Jeff Moss sold the Black Hat security conference to CMP a decade ago for around $13m (£8.3m), he faced a barrage of abuse from some members of the hacker community as a sellout. They were a little bit right, and a lot wrong, as this year's cons have shown. Black Hat was always supposed to be a little bit corporate anyway …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "They work because it isn't work; it's a labor of love and intellectual stimulation."

    That also happens, or used to, in some large IT organisations. It wrecked my health in old age - but it was 45 years of being surprised when the monthly paycheck came in for doing something that was basically very enjoyable (sometimes only in hindsight).

    Thank you for that interesting article - it's the first time I've really understood what those meetings are all about. One oddity of my career is that I didn't risk becoming an alcoholic like some of my colleagues. Once in a while a problem was so obviously stupid that it required a drastic approach. Three shots of whisky spaced over an hour or so - if the third one didn't slow my thinking down enough then I just fell asleep - and the answer often surfaced on waking.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      For me, it was my military career. 'Cause I put in daily attention first thing every day on my equipment I had a lot of free time. My early teen fascination with mainframes (with a heaping ton of IBM system engineers) got myself shanghaied into our data centers. Later on it was a whole airbase. Mainframes, minis, and PC's oh my. I spent most of my money upgrading mi Amigas and a ton of time on CompuServe. $750 to $1200 a month on connect fees. I had a room of my own, 3 hots, and Coronado outside the gate to relieve me of any excess cash. (Fantastic food.)

      Come to find out much later I ended up with a slow terminal illness as the result of a shipyard accident. I'd still do it all again. They wanted me to hack the systems to do what they wanted next. 24 hours didn't provide enough of a day!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "24 hours didn't provide enough of a day!"

        I found that my natural body cycle is more than 30 hours. I presume that is true for most people - the pineal gland is supposed to reset the body clock at sunrise to synchronise with the earth's day. Under the doctor's regime in old age I really do miss those extra 6 hours when I'm trying to do something that requires concentrated effort.

  2. James 51

    'Windows Phone and BlackBerry didn't get much of a mention, with one speaker pointing out it was only worth investing time cracking operating systems people actually used.'

    Ouch. Though I thought there would be more kudos is breaking BB10 as security is one of its main selling points. Perhaps it is harder to crack and because it is less popular, less media interest in any exploits found.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time flies

    ... and the entry drugs were "Stalking the Wily Hacker" and "The Internet Worm: Crisis and Aftermath", all in the mysterious "Communications of the ACM" magazine. Later the now very outdated "Computers Under Attack: Intruders, Worms and Viruses 1st Edition" compendium by Addison-Wesley.

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Thanks for this report. There's no chance of me ever attending either of these, but DEF CON would be the one I'd most like to to see - even though much of it would fly over my head at about 10,000 feet!

  5. LucreLout Silver badge

    As long as they have a place to crash, an internet connection, and enough money to keep the wolf from the door, they are perfectly happy doing what they love without having to worry about performance reviews or dress codes.

    I miss those days, I really do. But children and a mortgage don't fund themselves... Still, I'll always be profoundly happy for my dot com days.

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