Black Hat 2008

Well, I’m back from another year at Black Hat. This time, I taught one of my company’s 2D Web Application Security courses.

I think I may have been one of the very few courses that concentrated on defense, which is Black Hat’s tongue in cheek slogan (“Digital Self Defense”). I taught the folks in there (about a 50/50 mix of devs and PMs/architects/designers etc) not only “this is a SQL injection” but hey, we have a complete solution for this, and this is how it works.

The class was originally 15 – 20 in size, but ended up being more than double that. I’m pleased with the outcome and how many folks really liked the course. Hopefully, it will lead BH into more actual digital self defense rather than just claiming that territory whilst promoting offense, offense, offense.

I met up with a fair number of folks, including Dinis, and all too briefly Jeremiah, RSnake, Arian Evans, the blokes from the NAB (Justin et al), my mate Justin Derry who is now at Fortify, and a bunch of others.

I took in almost all of the appsec 1.0 / webappsec 2.0, except for the last session of the last day. It was a good conference and well worth the visit this year. There are always a couple of weak talks, including the one from the network pen testers who have cottoned on to 0days involving web apps which I found very amusing because they thought they were so hard core and l33t. Here’s a hint guys: if you can’t get 8-20 0days out of any web app, you’re not doing it right. It’s like whack a mole or stealing candy from a sleeping baby. And authorization attacks are automatable if you have the right tools. The only interesting thing from that talk was an extension of the old file format jumble, where some file formats have headers and some have trailers, and thus you can make a valid file that is both one thing and another. They had a GIF and a JAR. Past precedents include both ELF and Win32 binaries (from back in 2001) in the one binary, the 1×1 pixel image that is also a PHP exploit (my favorite). I’m sure there’s others prior to 2001.

Anyway, enough ranting for me. I had a good time, and I can hardly complain as I was sponsored there by my employer and thus bore nothing of the real costs of this trip.

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