CMP Media Buys Black Hat

The popular Black Hat security think tank has been acquired by New York-based tech publisher CMP. The underground DefCon hacker meet-up was not included in the deal.

Jeff Moss has sold his Black Hat security think tank to technology publisher CMP Media LLC in a deal valued in the range of $14 million.

The deal gives the Manhasset, N.Y.-based CMP Media the assets and intellectual property of Black Hat Inc., one of the most prominent security conferences on the calendar.

The DefCon underground hacker meet-up, which is also owned by Moss, was not included in the deal.

In an interview with Ziff Davis Internet News, Moss said the acquisition included only the Black Hat Consulting, Black Hat Training and Black Hat Briefings assets.

"DefCon is a separate company and a separate business. They [CMP] werent interested in DefCon and Id never sell it anyway. I dont think CMP wants to be in the underground hacker conference world," Moss said.

CMP Media, a subsidiary of U.K.-based United Business Media, will fold the Black Hat assets into its events unit, which already handles annual CSI (Computer Security Institute) conference.

Black Hat and CSI will remain separate entities within CMP Media.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead more here about the Ciscogate controversy at Black Hat 2005.

Moss said the Black Hat USA, Black Hat Europe and Black Hat Asia shows will continue to operate without any significant changes.

"Not much will change in terms of content coming out of Black Hat. Were going to a company with more resources to expand the Black Hat brand. It will broaden the exposure of Black Hat to a larger audience," said Moss, who created Black Hat in 1997 to provide advanced education to IT security pros.

The acquisition follows the Ciscogate controversy that erupted at the Black Hat Briefings in Las Vegas this summer, when security researcher Michael Lynn quit his job to present the first-ever example of exploit shellcode in Cisco IOS (Internetwork Operating System), a presentation that landed him in legal hot water.

Black Hat was also sued by Cisco and Lynns former employer ISS (Internet Security Systems Inc.), but the matter was settled earlier this month.

Moss said the sale discussions with CMP had started before what he described as "the Cisco ordeal," insisting the controversy never put the deal in jeopardy.

"We were negotiating even as all the legal stuff was happening. They knew what was going on. I dont think it scared them at all. Theyre publishers so theyre familiar with this kind of controversy," Moss said.

He said he took offers from several companies but declined to provide details.

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