Black Hat announces that Matt Blaze, McDevitt Chair in Computer Science and Law at Georgetown University, and Renée DiResta, Research Manager at Stanford Internet Observatory, will keynote Black Hat USA 2020, taking place virtually August 1-6. Blaze will present on August 5 to discuss election security and Renée DiResta will kick off August 6 to explore the potential impacts of disinformation campaigns on the upcoming 2020 election.

Stress-Testing Democracy: Election Integrity During a Global Pandemic – Presented by Matt Blaze
Wednesday, August 5, 9 AM PT

Blaze holds the McDevitt Chair in Computer Science and Law at Georgetown University. His work focuses on security, privacy, cryptography and scale, especially at the intersection of technology and public policy. In his talk, Blaze will focus on the security of the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Technologists have long warned that much of the technology and infrastructure we depend on for voting suffers from exploitable vulnerabilities that could be used to cast doubt on the integrity of elections. Those problems are extremely challenging under normal circumstances, but a global pandemic adds a new dimension to the mix: protecting the health of voters and election workers. Blaze will address how we can securely and robustly scale up safer, broadly accessible voting mechanisms between now and November and will explore the challenges – technological, logistical and political – of keeping our elections running during a crisis.

Hacking Public Opinion – Presented by Renée DiResta
Thursday, August 6, 9 AM PT

DiResta investigates the spread of narratives across social and media networks, with an interest in understanding how platform design and economic incentives intersect with user behaviors and crowd dynamics. In 2018, at the behest of SSCI, she led an investigation into the Russian Internet Research Agency’s multi-year effort to manipulate American society and elections. A year later, she led an additional comprehensive investigation into influence capabilities that the GRU (Russian military intelligence) used alongside its hack-and-leak operations in the 2016 election. Renée has advised Congress, the State Department and other academic, civic and business organizations.

In her talk, DiResta will take a deep dive into the tactics behind some of the most impactful recent information operations and will demonstrate the ways in which hacking the information environment is similar and different from the kind of intrusions information security professionals normally deal with. She will conclude with a look ahead to the 2020 elections and will create a call-to-action for the audience to deploy their skills in the defense of democracy.

For more information and to view the full abstracts, visit: