AI Dominates the Conversation at Black Hat


Every year, the Offleash cybersecurity team attends Black Hat in Las Vegas to further immerse ourselves in the current trends, challenges, and victories propelling the industry. It’s a valuable time for us to support our growing portfolio of innovative cybersecurity clients, nurture media relationships, and connect with old (and new) friends while learning more about the latest security technologies coming to market.

Here are key takeaways that emerged from this year’s event, plus what our clients were up to.

AI is creating new attack vectors at a rapid pace.

It’s no secret that AI is everywhere. This year’s keynote, presented by Maria Markstedter, Founder of Azeria Labs, was primarily focused on how the explosion of generative AI tools has created both challenges and opportunities (but mostly challenges) for the industry. Most concerning is the extensive list of new attack vectors that come alongside AI. 

Addressing and solving these new exploits was a hot topic for vendors, including Vectra AI, who unveiled an XDR (extended detection and response) platform aimed at helping SOC teams keep pace with modern day attacks. Additionally, Code42 announced new source code exfiltration detection capabilities for its insider risk management platform and a partnership with no-code automation provider Tines. Descope also displayed its authentication and user management offerings during a joint on-site demo with Traceable discussing digital fraud prevention.

AI is creating a corporate arms race. 

With hundreds of vendors exhibiting at this year’s Black Hat, the noise and energy on the show floor—plus the competition between vendors—was impossible to ignore. Beyond the captivating ways vendors draw people to their booths, vendors are also engaged in a relentless race to pioneer and dominate AI-driven innovations.

With the aim of fostering innovation to counter the adversaries jeopardizing the nation’s cyber defenses, the Biden Administration unveiled the “AI Cyber Challenge” at Black Hat this year. This challenge invites security companies to create AI-driven solutions to detect and remediate software vulnerabilities within the nation’s critical infrastructure and systems.

The competition will be led by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) with a particular focus on fixing vulnerabilities in open-source software and will include participation from AI companies Anthropic, Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI, who will lend their expertise and technology for the challenge.  

The human element is alive and well.

Another core focus of this year’s keynote was AI’s impact on cybersecurity talent and job creation. In her keynote, Markstedter noted that rather than eliminating positions, the proliferation of AI will create more jobs in the industry since we’ll inevitably need more cybersecurity professionals to mitigate and secure new attack surfaces, techniques, and exploits. 

One of the best parts about attending industry events like Black Hat is being able to have open conversations with clients, reporters, and peers that don’t come as naturally during virtual interactions. There’s nothing quite like in-person face time. Through these real conversations, it’s easy to understand what distinguishes humans from machines and why human intelligence will continue to prevail.

Leading cybersecurity companies are making their mark.

With cybersecurity representing over one-quarter of Offleash’s current client base, we were thrilled to support our clients in attendance at this year’s event. Here are some of the big, innovative ways these market leaders and disruptors made their mark.

Offleash client Uptycs partnered with a local Las Vegas comic book store to build an eye-catching “Nerd Wall” to raffle off memorabilia to booth attendees. The team leaned heavily into the superhero theme by creating its own hero, “the Unifier,” developing a branded comic book, and inviting Dean Cain (former Superman actor) to sign books for attendees.

Rubrik, while not an exhibitor at the conference, was all the buzz following news that the company signed an agreement to acquire Laminar to create the industry’s first complete cyber resilience offering of its kind. 

Black Hat Diamond Sponsor Armis was hard to miss as the company took over the Hazel Lounge at Mandalay Bay to conduct meetings throughout the week on important industry topics, like critical infrastructure cybersecurity, which they also presented about at the conference.

Leading up to the event, API security unicorn Noname Security announced significant corporate momentum as API security continues to gain traction in the market. Noname educated Black Hat attendees on the risks of APIs and gave live demonstrations at its booth on how to remediate API attacks and vulnerabilities using its platform. As if that wasn’t enough, the company also co-sponsored one of the week’s hottest parties, “HACKasan” at the Hakkasan Nightclub.

While Black Hat highlighted the challenges that lie ahead as we usher in a new era of cyber warfare—where both attackers and defenders leverage the power of AI—it also reminded us of just how mighty the cybersecurity industry is and of our collective strength.

Our team is excited to be part of the change, and we look forward to supporting the next generation of companies shaping the future of cybersecurity.