For our 14th year of training at Blackhat, we had seven courses on offer over the four days of training. This year was a record breaker for us, with over 280 students trained. Our beginner classes sold out on numerous occasions, with us having to increase class sizes and fly more trainers out. In addition, we decided on a drastic architecture change to the way we deliver our training: we moved it into the cloud.
Some called us mad, to rely on Internet-based services for training, but for us there was only really one way we could ensure each student had an environment that was completely theirs and this was via Amazon's AWS architecture.
What this meant for students is that they were given a Kali Linux image with a VPN configuration that allowed them to connect into their own private instance. If other students caused their environment to drop (this happens, a lot), it was only them that suffered (well suffered is the wrong word to use, we could easily spin up a new instance). This also meant that there were no more network bottlenecks or services falling over from many students attacking them.
Student Training PortalAnother new innovation for us was our Student Training Portal, which allowed students to register beforehand and receive all the course content before the course started. It also allowed us to upload files, exploits and tools that would be used throughout the course, without having to worry about USB key drives or other means of passing content around.The portal is also a way for students to keep track of what courses they have attended and earn badges for successfully completing them. Access to the portal is also available for students once the course has finished
All in all, this was our best Blackhat USA to date and look forward to next years USA and training more students