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Black Hat: Mobile Flaws Get Attention

As security professionals converge in Las Vegas for Black Hat USA 2010, July 24-29, conference founder Jeff Moss says interest in mobile vulnerabilities is growing.
"Everybody wants to see that one because they want to see why there was pressure last year to cancel it," said Moss. "Like this year, Jack announced that he was going to do this talk about ATMs and make all the money come out. A couple of ATM vendors got really nervous and started pressuring him and his employer, and the employer pulled the talk on him. So he then went and quit his employer and found a new one and is doing the talk this year."

Similar pressure this year led to the cancellation of a talk titled "The Chinese Cyber Army: An Archaeological Study from 2001 to 2010."

Moss said he was disappointed to learn about the cancellation of this presentation, which was supposed to reveal data about Chinese military involvement in cyber espionage. "I was really looking forward to it because they had real research and real numbers and real packet captures, nine years of log data," he said. "I thought it was really going to advance the state of the debate because it's not full of speculation."

Unfortunately, he said, "the Chinese government applied pressure to the Taiwanese government which applied pressure to the speakers. The Chinese don't like it when people suggest that they're breaking into [other people's computers]."

When Google said in January that it would no longer censor search results in China, the company attributed its change of policy to a sophisticated cyber attack from China. Some security researchers believe those who hacked Google's systems had ties to the Chinese military.

Conclusive evidence to that effect, if it exists, has not been made public and Chinese authorities have emphatically disputed such claims, as they have done in the past when similar allegations surfaced.

Black Hat USA 2010 begins with training sessions, which run from Saturday, July 24 through Tuesday, July 27. The presentations run from Wednesday, July 28 through Thursday, July 29.

Black Hat and InformationWeek are both properties of TechWeb.

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