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Pwned HBGary Federal boss cancels debate after threats

Barr barred from no-holds-barred battle

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Ex–HBGary Federal chief exec Aaron Barr has abandoned plans to speak at the DefCon security conference in Vegas next week.

Barr was due to take part in a panel discussion on 6 August but cancelled these plans in response to a threatened legal injunction by lawyers acting for his former employers, security blog Threatpost reports.

It's unclear whether or not the panel, entitled 'Whoever Fights Monsters...' Aaron Barr, Anonymous and Ourselves, will go ahead or not without its main attraction. Barr and fellow panel members Joshua Corman and Jericho of Attrition.org were due to debate the activities of LulzSec and Anonymous as well as the US military's interest in cyberwar.

Anonymous famously turned over both Barr personally and HBGary Federal back in February, days before Barr was due to give a talk on the structure and supposed membership of the the anarchic hacking group at the BSides security conference in San Francisco. The hack revealed emails that detailed plans by HBGary Federal to stage a dirty tricks campaign against WikiLeaks on behalf of the Bank of America.

Even worse, leaked emails outed Morgan Stanley as a victim of the Operation Aurora attacks in 2009. Barr resigned as chief exec of HBGary Federal in late February, citing a desire to draw a line under the whole embarrassing affair and give HBGary Federal a chance to rebuild its business.

Planned talks at the annual Black Hat and DEFCON conferences regularly attract legal controversy. For example, ISS researcher Michael Lynn resigned in order to deliver a presentation on security vulnerabilities in Cisco's IOS back in July 2005. He was hired by Cisco's arch-rival, Juniper Networks, weeks afterwards.

Two years ago, a demo on ATM security flaws by Barnaby Jack was also taken off the Black Hat agenda. ®

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