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Apple Pull Out of Black Hat

Marketing don't approve.


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LAS VEGAS (Rixstep) -- Apple security engineers expected to take part in a public discussion of the company's security practices at Black Hat in Las Vegas this year.

They've been pulled.

1st Time

This would have been the first time Apple allowed their engineers to discuss corporate policy in this fashion. 'Marketing got wind of it and nobody at Apple is ever allowed to speak publicly about anything without marketing approval', said Black Hat director Jeff Moss.

Insider Info

Black Hat organisers hoped to make the Apple discussion a highlight of the show with attendees finally getting an insider look at the workings of Apple's security response team. Apple are of course notoriously secretive about everything, especially about security policies, but of late there's been a backlash, with experts clamouring for more disclosure. The open discussion would have eased the tension and hostilities considerably.

'It would have put Apple in a positive light', lamented Moss.

18 Days

The request for the discussion came to Black Hat on 3 July; by 21 July Apple marketing nixed the idea. 'Due to circumstances beyond my control I regret that I will not be able to participate in Black Hat this year', reported the anonymous Apple security engineer to Black Hat.

And the names of the intended participants will remain unknown: making them public could lead to their being sacked.

No Open Q&A

The Apple reps reckoned on getting approval from marketing: their plan was to refuse to answer spontaneous questions from the attendees. But that evidently wasn't good enough.

VileFault

Another 'Apple' appearance at Black Hat has also been pulled: that of directory services authority Charles Edge who was to speak on Apple's FileVault 'technology'. Not an Apple employee, Edge was nevertheless bound by confidentiality agreements he's signed with Apple.

No Comments!

Unsurprisingly Apple refused to comment on these matters when contacted by IDG News Service reporter Robert McMillan. Black Hat however welcome Apple back if they should see the light in time.

Backlash!

It's likely this turn of events will hurt Apple bad: their reputation in the security community is already the antipode of 'stellar', no matter how secure the underpinnings of their systems are. People are beginning to understand that things have to be kept up to date and open for security and user safety to have a chance.

There might be white hats out there who show a modicum of patience but the gray hats and above all the black hats are likely to declare open season on Apple.

See Also
IDG/Network World: Apple nix security engineering talk

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