Security Professionals from all over the world descended on Atlanta, GA for the thirteenth annual Hacker Halted Conference on October 9-10. This educational conference highlights the current trends and best practices of IT Security and has been held in Atlanta for the past four years, longer than any other city. Notable attendees at the conference included Chris Roberts (pictured with InterDev CEO Gary Nichols and CISO Daniel Schultheiss) who is most recognized for his work in aviation security. In 2015, Roberts hacked into the In-Flight Entertainment system (IFE) on a Boeing aircraft and allegedly caused one of the engines to accelerate, thus causing the plane to turn slightly. There is no definitive proof that he was able to control the engine and Roberts denies the allegations.
The theme for the two-day event was 2,500 years in the making. Sun Tzu was a Chinese military general and strategist who lived in the Eastern Zhou period of ancient China and is most known for his book The Art of War which is still used today to influence military strategy all over the world. Today, hackers and criminals wage war on a digital battlefield. Hacker Halted discussed how modern-day IT companies can adapt the same principles and strategies of Sun Tzu to the world of servers and networks.
A common theme at the conference held that the most vulnerable part of any network is the end user. Joshua Crumbaugh, Chief Hacker and CEO of PeopleSec, shared the statistic that 90% of security breaches begin at the end user with a phishing attack, most often in the form of an email designed to get users to click on an unsafe link, thus allowing the hackers access. The tools and battlefields of criminal warfare may be changing, but even today we can draw on ancient wisdom to help keep us safe.