German hacker denied entry into U.S. for Black Hat training

German hacker denied entry into U.S. for Black Hat training

Summary: Thomas Dullien, aka "Halvar Flake," a prominent security researcher who has been a fixture at the annual Black Hat security conference, has been denied entry into the U.S. to attend and conduct training at this year's confab.

TOPICS: Security

Thomas Dullien, a prominent security researcher who has been a fixture at the annual Black Hat security conference, has been denied entry into the U.S. to attend and conduct training at this year's confab.

Dullien (left), a German reverse engineering whiz known in hacker circles as "Halvar Flake," said he was blocked from entering the U.S. after customs officials found printed "training materials" in his suitcase.

The CEO and head of research at Sabre Security said the denial appeared to be linked to his use of the visa waiver program to present Black Hat training as a private citizen instead of as a representative of a company.

After a nine-hour flight and a four-and-a-half hour interview with U.S. immigration officials, Dullien was put on the next 9-hour flight back to Germany and it seems uncertain he will get the visa situation straightened out in time for next week's Black Hat show.

Dullien has attented and presented at Black Hat for the last seven years and, even before that, he has been part of the training sessions -- teaching reverse-engineering and hacker tricks to mostly U.S.-government related folks, mostly working on US National Security in some form.

"I have trained people from the DoD, DoE, DHS and most other [government] agencies that come to mind," Dullien explained.

He has also presented at Microsoft's internal "Blue Hat" conference and is considered one of the most respected researchers in the world.

See more on Dullien's nightmare on his personal blog.

Topic: Security

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  • Another triumph for the flappers

    If it happened to me, I wouldn't bother trying to come back, but I would urge that future conferences are held outside the US.
    • Such is the ways of American democracy

      I can't begin to say how very 3rd world that the ways of American Immigration is and has been but they are not alone as holding people for an undetermined amount of time with no court hearing is wrong and goes against their own constitution. It appears there are no limits as to where American Immigration can go, will go and has gone. Example, Who gave them the right to send a Canadian citizen to a 3rd world country ? If you ask the question, you'll get no answer because they do not, by law, have to discuss their actions or be accountable to anyone. If this isn't third world, what is ?
      • Democracy has different forms, we're a REPRESENTATIVE form

        There's a difference:

        In case you are unaware, this is how it happened:

        In 1776, most people were uneducated, so the Founding Fathers realized that the only way to initiate democracy was to allow the people to select representatives who understood the issues and could argue their points for the masses. So, we have to vote for people to do the thinking for us. This leaves us with little option as both parties are drifting farther away from the real issues and closer to the center, leaving many of the important issues on the back burner so as to not piss off voters. Thus, we are stuck with the imbicile du jour. However, it is not a monarchy, and he can never serve this position again when his term is up.

        Just so you know, we don't like it either, that's why the administration only has a 24% approval rating (amazingly high, in my opinion). The people who are in the front running for the position now are presenting the opposite ideals as this current.

        Speaks alot for our view of things, doesn't it? Before you criticize, be aware that we didn't know what we were getting when this happened, and the popular vote went the other way.

        Thanks alot Florida. Got us a winner, didn't you?
  • This is all Microsoft's fault

    [i]He has also presented at Microsoft?s internal ?Blue Hat? conference[/i]

    Well... someone had to say it. ;)
    • *sigh*

      [i]"Well... someone had to say it"[/i]

      And it had to be you??
  • Incompetent Government at work

    • why?

      The guy tried to work in the US as a private person, violating a well-known US law. I'm not saying that the law makes sense, but if law is there, it must be respected. And he didn't.

      If the guy had been admitted, now everyone would be laughing about how easy is to circunvent american borders. So in the end, no matter what, people always like to complain.
      • Are you reading what you post?

        "I'm not saying that the law makes sense, but if law is there, it must be respected."

        In other words, we are to respect nonsense? Seems to me that's the *problem*, not the solution...

        If you want spaghetti code, talk to a legislator...
        • of course not

          "In other words, we are to respect nonsense? Seems to me that's the *problem*, not the solution..."

          Of course you don't have to respect nonsense. First, you go and decide based on your universal expertise what makes sense and what not. And then, you can of course ignore any law or rule that is nonsense. That is the way we live in my country, and our living standard is much much better than that of the US. You should come and visit, you'll love it here.
          • nonsense! US-Mexican border = no enfacement US corps. wants cheap Labor -NT

        • If you want to criticize the law

          then that's fine. But I find it tough to criticize immigration for following the letter of the law.
          Michael Kelly
          • I find it easy to criticize them

            when they are being anal-retentive in their following of the 'law'. Really, the visa laws are so full of gotchas that they should just be repealed and totally re-written, in plain person speak.
          • Dude, have you seen all the illegal Mexicans running around here?

            Letter of the law my ass. Only because he works at a normal rate instead of $3 below minimum wage....

            Give me a break, this is facism and you know it. The man taught the government for fuck's sake, and thanks to him the government computer systems are tighter than a frog's butt. So, to thank him, now they are saying "oops, looks like someone made a mistake, so you have to go, but all of you people who swam the river can stay."

            So, actually two letters of the law are being followed: F & U
      • "if law is there, it must be respected"? - Like on the Mexican boarder - NT

        • Want to comment on Guantanamo Bay ?

          I believe your law also was written with the freedom of rights that all accused are entitled to legal representation, must have a legal hearing by a court of law within a reasonable time, cannot be held or confined without charge for an undetermined amount of time. Now, let's all sit down and await your answer since you know so much about respect and the law. When you get done with that, let me know how the American government was justified in sending a Canadian citizen to a 3rd world country instead of Canada which was the country he was legally entitled to be deported to. When you get done with that, maybe you can go out with George W. when he get's the urge to look for some more weapons of mass destruction as he would need a few recruits like you to believe his "justification" for it.
          • Sure I'll comment..

            The 'freedom of rights' you quote apply to US Citizens, not foreign nationals waging war illegally against US citizens and military forces abroad. Frankly, those being held at Gitmo are lucky to be breathing. They are illegal combatants and under international law and in prior conflicts (WW2 for example) such combatants were subject to battle field execution - is that what you would prefer happen to them?
          • Except for

            those that were arrested, held for several years, never charged with anything and ultimately released, because they weren't enemy combatants.

            If they're criminals, as you claim, then try them. If they're POWs, then give them the rights POWs get. You dont' get ot have it both ways....and constitutional rights have generally applied to all on U.S. soil, not just citizens.
          • Not enemy combatants...

            They are "Illegal Combatants" - there's a big difference. They are not POW's because they belong to no military force and often are not even citizens of the country they are captured in. There is no legal precedence for prosecuting Illegal Combatants under our laws, nor are there any international treaties defining the treatment of Illegal Combatants. Historically in previous wars, Illegal Combatants were summarily executed on the battlefield. We are in fact, being much more generous than international law and historic precedence allows for. We allow them to keep living and return them to their home countries. Its interesting to note that some 60% of the ones released have been subsequently killed on the battlefield.

            Actually, I never called them 'Criminals'. BUT - again, historically, criminals of almost any sort caught 'doing things' on the battlefield are simply shot 'in the act' of perpetrating their crime (or shortly thereafter), whether its looting, committing violent acts against civilians or picking up arms against uniformed military persons. And they do not enjoy any of our constitutional rights because they are not citizens of the US *and* they are NOT operating on US soil, as I pointed out earlier, their illegal activities are occurring in a war zone on FOREIGN soil.

            Would you prefer that we go back to the common practice of performing battlefield executions of these people?
      • Ok, try this one on and let's see what excuse you can come up with

        You want to get legal about things, well how was it legal for the United States to send a Canadian citizen to a third world country for the purposes of torture and abuse ? How is it the American Government is able to hold prisoners without hearing, bail or conviction for an undetermined amount of time. This is contrary to your own laws, freedom of rights and the good old US of A democracy. I will sit down for your answer as I have a feeling it will be a long time in coming. Much like weapons of mass destruction, it will likely be an imaginary one of your own choosing similar to that of George W. Bush but hey if you can make anyone believe your accusations by propaganda, why not eh ?
        • ha ha

          dude, you are funny