Guest blog by David Spark, Spark Media Solutions
“It’s security Christmas for us,” said Neil “Grifter” Wyler (@grifter801), network operations director at Black Hat. He and his team are responsible for managing what is probably one of the most abused networks, Black Hat’s Network Operations Center or NOC.
“It’s just an interesting challenge. You’re putting thousands and thousands of information security professionals, some of them hackers, altogether in one place and they’re going to test the limits of what they can do, see where they can go, and we like to watch them do that. And for the most part we’re going to let them play,” said Wyler.
If the hackers aren’t taking down critical infrastructure or the registration for Black Hat, Wyler and his team have a hands off policy to managing behavior. Often what they see as bad behavior could be a demo and he doesn’t want to be responsible for ruining that.
The big difference Wyler sees this year versus last year is the sheer volume of activity. Black Hat had 16,000 people registered this year.
“We fire up the network and within moments we start seeing the types of things that turn most analysts’ hair white,” said Wyler.
Most of the people working in the NOC are volunteers, and are often using their vacation time to be there. Wyler and team set the mood of the room by turning down the lights, playing ambient music, and running a series of relevant inspirational movies (e.g., Tron, Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell) on a loop.
Check out this video tour of the Black Hat USA 2016 NOC in Las Vegas, guided by Wyler.
Black Hat USA 2016: Tour of the Network Operations Center (NOC) from CloudPassage on Vimeo.