Picking the Top Hackers: Lenovo Security Expert Helps Select Black Hat Speakers

Andrew Barron, Worldwide Communications Manager

Hacking an ATM. A researcher who hacked his own insulin pump and other medical equipment. Researchers who took over a Jeep being driven outside during their presentation. This is what the annual Black Hat conference, where thousands of the world’s top security professionals gather in August, is known for. This year promises to be no different with researchers explaining how they delved deep into code to pinpoint previously unknown vulnerabilities in web sites, operating systems or hardware and poking at the role software plays in security.

More than 1,200 proposals compete for the prestige that goes with presenting at Black Hat with only 100 speaking slots on the agenda. Three review boards have the honor of judging the nominations, and this year Bill Jaeger, one of Lenovo’s top information security experts, help select some of the presenters. Before he joined Lenovo in 2014, Jaeger worked at Kratos Defense & Security, a leading Washington security firm.  Overall, he has more than 20 years solving complex security, operational, and technical challenges for commercial and government customers.  With five security-related patents either issued or pending, he makes the security conferences circuit frequently.

Bill Jaeger, Lenovo

Jaeger’s passion for new technology and programming computers runs deep, back to his roots as a kid growing up in Queens, New York. He administered a local dial-up bulletin board as a teenager and moved up to networking while at Clarkson University. He first met the field of information security there.

“I was administering UNIX systems for my university as a work-study student, and one of them got hacked,” he said. “That set me down a path to figure out what happened and ensure it never happened again. The ‘hack’ was pretty basic, in retrospect, because nothing was secure in those days. But I’ve been involved in security ever since.”

At Lenovo, Jaeger leads the product security office for Lenovo’s Data Center Group, working with product teams and industry partners to align the security of Lenovo’s product offerings with enterprise customer needs. Lenovo named him a Lenovo Hero in 2018, an award given to the company’s most innovative employees who achieve breakthrough results for customers.

For his Black Hat work, Jaeger’s fellow Guest Review Board reviewers included security researchers, academics, heads of security consulting firms and peers from companies such as Google, Intel, Apple, Facebook, Salesforce.com, Cisco, Bank of America and Mozilla. Black Hat’s prestige affords the opportunity to pick from among the world’s top security professionals to fill review boards, said Anthony Corkell, vice president and DCG’s Chief Quality and Security Officer.

“Black Hat’s selection confirms that Bill is one of the best information and product security people working today,” Corkell said.

After reviewing more than 75 proposals, the Review Board picked “about six to eight” presentations, ensuring the most pressing, insightful, and impactful issues get the stage and the attention of the global security community.

“We had some very interesting discussions as the group had a lot of smart people who were really engaged,” Jaeger said. “I really enjoyed being part of this critical analysis as we tried to evaluate everything with an eye on what was the best fit for the conference.”

Jaeger, a regular at Black Hat, first attended in 1999, and looks forward to learning and connecting with peers and colleagues, including customers and partners, from across the industry.  Now in its 22nd year, Black Hat runs from August 3-8 in Las Vegas.

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