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Security shortcomings in Black Hat's newly established streaming media service allowed a security consultant to hack into the system and see presentations for free.

Michael Coates, head of web security at Mozilla, discovered he was able to use an account on a test login page to view videos without paying. Normally the service would cost $395. Coates came across the hole after he began exploring oddities he noticed during the sign-up process, as he explains in a blog post here.

"To be fair, Black Hat didn't operate this video service themselves," Coates wrote. "But it's still a bit ironic that the largest hacking conference in the world has this security hole in their video streaming service."

Coates describes the vulnerability as "a combination of logic flaws and misconfigured systems which provided access to a testing login page that could be used with user credentials that were not fully 'registered' [no payment received]."

Black Hat's inaugural video streaming services was supplied by Inxpo. Coates said he notified Inxpo about the problems and waited until it fixed the security flaws before writing up the attack.

Running any service for delegates to Black Hat and its companion conference Defcon are always fraught with difficulties. In the past, casino VoIP systems been hacked to make free calls, for example.

The same has happened over the years with hotel TV services. Over the years improvements have been made to lock down systems.

Although venues wind up getting arguably the world's most effective penetration testing services in the process, it's difficult to think any organisation other than a Vegas hotel would put up with such hacker hijinks year after year.

Black Hat director Jeff Moss told IDG that it selected Inxpo on a recommendation but that the firm had never previously run live streaming services for a security conference. "It's kind of like their trial by fire: Welcome to Black Hat," Moss said. ®

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