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The hackers are coming... to Las Vegas

Hackers convene at a conference to help companies find their technological vulnerabilities
Hackers convene at a conference to help compa... 02:50

Seems like there's been a lot of hacking news lately, huh? Well, it's no coincidence.

There was the Jeep hack that demonstrated Chrysler cars could be taken over via their infotainment systems, a revelation that led to the recall of 1.4 million vehicles. And another vulnerability exposed in General Motors cars with OnStar. And the scary Stagefright bug that puts 95 percent of all Android smartphones at risk.

Just as celebrities do the talk show circuit before a big movie premiere, the hacking world is gearing up for its annual hacking convention, Black Hat, and these revelations are a preview of what's to come.

Taking place next week in Las Vegas, Black Hat is a once-a-year coming out party where hackers -- you can call them ethical hackers, or simply "researchers" -- show off how they've been able to sniff out and exploit weaknesses in products from fridges to military satellites to SUVs.

Before the big dance, they have been letting some of their best tricks trickle out.

Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller, the security experts behind the Jeep hack, will be presenting on just how they were able to hijack the car's controls by accessing processors through the 3G-connected in-console radio unit. Valasek told CBS News the demonstration will include details not released in the Wired video that first exposed the hack. He wouldn't divulge any more than that.

Not ones for subtlety, when researchers at Zimperium Mobile Security announced they had found the "mother of all Android vulnerabilities," the company wrote: "For those attending BlackHat or DEFCON in Las Vegas this year, you will have the chance to be live at the unveiling of the worst Android vulnerability in the mobile OS history!"

DEFCON, another hacking gathering, with a less corporate, more sinister flair, is taking place directly after Black Hat, also on the Vegas Strip.

In the spirit of ethical hacking, both Miller and Valasek and the Zimperium team disclosed their findings to the companies in question (Fiat Chrysler and Google, respectively) before announcing them, and they didn't release "How To" information to the public.

Ethical hacking is an underlying theme of Black Hat, where companies gather to learn about growing trends in security threats and to probe -- and possibly poach -- some of the greatest minds in hacking. Many companies pay out so-called "bug bounties" to hackers who can identify vulnerabilities in their systems.

"There will be lots of car companies recruiting at this conference," CNET's Bridget Carey predicted.

They won't be the only ones looking to learn the hard way. Now that kitchen equipment, children's toys, medical devices, home security systems and even semiautomatic rifles are hooked up to the Internet, pretty much any company that makes anything has silicon in the game.

And they'll all be asking what they can do to protect their businesses and their customers.

"I think that is the key question that companies now need to start asking themselves before they make the product," said Carey. "It's just embarrassing and scary."

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