BlackHat 2023, one the largest and most well-known cybersecurity conferences did not disappoint. This year drew more than 20,0000 attendees – bringing together industry experts, researchers, analysts and hackers to sizzling Sin City – Las Vegas, NV. Attendees, organizations, and speakers came to discuss the latest in security threats and defenses. Back to the days of pre-pandemic scale with the business hall, training, briefings, and courses at full capacity, it was a true depiction of just how important cybersecurity is to individuals, governments and businesses alike. 

Here are some of the key takeaways of Black Hat 2023:

AI in Cybersecurity

There is always a popular theme at these events and it should be no surprise that artificial intelligence (AI) took center stage. Featured during many sessions and touted as a key capability of many security vendors, discussions around the use of AI spanned both offensive and defensive cyber operations. In fact, the opening keynote featured the potential benefits and risks associated with the democratization of AI and announced DARPA’s AI Cyber Challenge, a two-year competition to develop AI-powered security tools. 

The topic of AI seemed to be endless but some of the more interesting included AI cyber risk modeling, explainable AI, adversarial AI, AI-powered disinformation, automating security operations through AI and AI-enabled hacking – to name just a few.  While most of the focus was on the positive and profound role that AI is playing in cybersecurity, there were concerns about how AI is being utilized to execute and automate more sophisticated attacks.

Cloud Security

Cloud security was runner-up in popularity, highlighting the increasing challenges organizations are facing with digital transformation projects and more and more organizations adopting cloud platforms and services. Overall, the cloud security theme highlighted the importance of taking a cloud-native approach to security, using cloud capabilities to defend usage, while addressing emerging attack vectors targeting cloud environments. 


There was a significant amount of discussion around automation, both the potential benefits as well as the potential risks. Sessions featured how automation can help streamline defensive operations, providing faster response time to detect and mitigate threats, the ability to process huge volumes of security data as well as how it can up-level a security team’s ability to focus on higher value tasks. 

However, there was also a lot of debate about how automated offensive security tools are making attacks more effective. Once again, AI and machine learning took center stage in these discussions showcasing how they could be utilized by attackers to create convincing phishing emails, brute force account passwords, and probe networks for weaknesses. Overall, discussions illustrated how the common use of automation for speed, consistency and scalability in effective cybersecurity can also be leveraged for malicious activities. 

Internet of Things (IoT) Security

Given the increasing prevalence of connected devices and the risks they represent, we saw a lot of sessions featuring new vulnerabilities in IoT devices and the risks associated with the proliferation of insecure network-connect devices. Discussions on the importance of securing IoT technology used in industrial control systems, manufacturing, utilities and other OT environments were a major theme. 

There were also a lot of talks associated with the increased risks of IoT botnets, malware, and vulnerabilities in consumer devices. There is an urgent need for manufacturers to build security into devices from the start. Attendees also raised concerns about consumer awareness and the need to get users to update and patch insecure devices.

The Rise of Sophisticated Cyber Attacks

While the rise of cyber attacks is a theme at every Black Hat – why have a conference if they are not increasing?  What was interesting was the growing capabilities of adversaries. Again, we heard a lot about the abuse of AI and ML by adversaries to evade defenses, automate tasks, optimize social engineering and scale attacks. 

Several sessions also featured how ransomware attacks are more targeted, the increasing sophistication of nation-state sponsored attacks, the growing use of cyber capabilities to enable information warfare and disinformation campaigns as well as the increased risks associated with insecure IoT and OT exploiting critical infrastructure, industrial control systems and medical devices. 

The truth is the stakes have never been higher and defenders need to continuously adapt and improve capabilities to meet those of sophisticated adversaries. 

MixMode Black Hat Presence

Black Hat 2023 themes across the board resonated with MixMode. We were excited to be part of the conversation and catch up with our customers, other vendors and industry experts. 

  • As a leader of Generative AI cybersecurity solutions, it was great to see the interest in AI and we enjoyed talking to attendees who visited our booth about how MixMode’s self-supervised learning Platform can help them detect known and unknown threats in real-time to help with the rise of today’s sophisticated cyber attacks. Schedule a demo to see the power of the MixMode Platform.
  • We were thrilled to see the interest in our Black Hat session, where Matt Shea, MixMode Chief Strategy Officer, presented on the complexity of cloud security and how Generative AI based in dynamical systems can overcome the limitations of legacy tools to deliver real-time threat detection at scale for cloud environments. Watch the Presentation and read our cloud eBook to learn more.

  • And it was great to join ISMG to discuss how a new approach is needed to revolutionize threat detection and response. Watch the Video

Overall, Black Hat 2023 demonstrated that the cybersecurity landscape continues to evolve rapidly. The event highlighted both the threats posed by emerging technologies like AI, as well as the potential for new defensive techniques. There will always be a need for Cybersecurity professionals to stay up-to-date on the latest research and technologies revealed at events like Black Hat, and MixMode is proud to play a critical role in helping them gain the competitive advantage they need to win against adversaries. 

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