For a company that has written off trade shows like Macworld, it’s interesting that Apple will be officially attending the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas this Thursday. What’s even more interesting is that the conference is devoted to the hacking and security research community, a demographic Apple has always given little public attention to. Under the post-Steve Jobs reign of Tim Cook, Apple’s head of platform security, Dallas De Atley, will be giving a presentation on key security technologies within iOS.
According to Black Hat general manager Trey Ford, this will be the first time anyone from Apple has taken the stage at either Black Hat or DefCon. Members from Apple’s security team have attended in secret (Apple employees often lurk the floors of trade shows like CES as well), but never publicly as representatives of the Cupertino company. According to Bloomberg:
But the closest anyone has come to seeing someone from Apple speak on stage was 2008. That’s when a panel of Apple insiders was scheduled to give a talk about the company’s security-response team. The highly anticipated event was abruptly canceled when Apple’s marketing department caught wind of it, according to Ford.
“Bottom line — no one at Apple speaks without marketing approval,” said Black Hat’s Trey Ford in an e-mail to Bloomberg. “Apple will be at Black Hat 2012, and marketing is on board.”
Apple’s competitors, like Google and Microsoft, are often seen at these sort of security conferences, but it’s huge that Apple itself is officially reaching out to the hacking community in such a public way. The rise of jailbreaking and recent security vulnerabilities in iOS (like the in-app purchases hack) have likely caused Apple to realize it needs a better relationship with the kind of people who attend Black Hat. Not to mention that OS X has come under recent attacks from malware like Flashback. As iOS and OS X continue to gain market share and become bigger targets for viruses, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the age of Apple’s innocence is over.