Could we live safer, more secure lives in 2038? A question for hacker summit

Updated 2017-07-31 14:37:08 Xinhua

During the past 20 years since the first Black Hat conference in 1997, the security community, tech industry and the world have been on a wild ride.

No doubt, a sea of new technologies and services will rock our world over the next 20 years, which means there will be much more to protect than just computers.

Most conference goers think the world's top computer security conference acts as a "crystal ball" illustrating future trends. So when the "Hacker Summer Camp" celebrates its 20th anniversary here this week, it may be the right time to think about the question -- could we be safer in 2038?

HARSH REALITY

The summer of 1997 was marked by many historical events: the Pathfinder probe landed on the surface of Mars, and IBM's Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov, the first time a computer beat a world champion in a chess match.

The first Black Hat was also created in that summer. At that time, there weren't a lot of jobs in information security, according to the conference founder Jeff Moss, aka The Dark Tangent, who also started another "Hacker Summer Camp" DEFCON, which celebrates here its 25th anniversary this week.

Moss reflected on the early days of the event in his keynote speech this week at Black Hat USA 2017, saying the first conference speaker list was largely just his friends.

Today, the computer security conference provides security consulting, training, and briefings to hackers, corporations, and government agencies around the world, bringing in over 9,000 attendees from more than 80 countries this year.

However, the harsh reality today, many cybersecurity experts believe, is that the security community hasn't kept pace with the importance of technology in our society, even as the stakes have grown higher than ever.

The industry is still in its infancy. Moss noted in his speech that the conference isn't even old enough to drink in Las Vegas yet.

"I don' t think we are living up to our potential yet, and some of this is due to deep-seated facets of information security culture," Alex Stamos, Chief Security Officer of Facebook, said in the keynote speech at the event.

Stamos pointed out many gaps he observed: the security community pays more attention to complex problems, but ignores actual human harm; people in the industry "punish imperfect solutions in an imperfect world;" the community doesn't engage the world effectively.

"We're really at the edge of something. I can't tell you what but I know it's the edge," Moss said at the event.

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