An annual trip to Las Vegas to teach at the Black Hat Security Briefings has turned into a lesson in bureaucracy for Thomas Dullien, the German security researcher -- better known as "Halvar Flake" -- said in a blog post on Sunday.
Dullien, which has taught reverse engineering tutorials for the past six years at Black Hat, endured a 4-1/2 interview after a customs official spied materials for the course in his luggage, he said. Dullien was forced to take the next nine-hour trip back to Germany. The questions asked by the officials suggest that they believed Dullien needed an H-1B visa to teach at Black Hat, the reverse engineer wrote.
"I was interviewed about who exactly I am, why I am coming to the U.S., what the nature of my contract with Black Hat is, and why my trainings class is not performed by an American citizen," Dullien wrote in his blog. "After 4 hours, it became clear that a decision had been reached that I was to be denied entry to the U.S., on the ground that since I am a private person conducting the trainings for Black Hat, I was essentially a Black Hat employee and would require an H-1B visa to perform two days of trainings in the U.S."
Dullien can no longer travel to the U.S. on the visa waiver program, the agreement that allow visitors from other countries to enter the United States -- and vice versa -- without first obtaining a visa.The customs officials may have thought that Dullien had tried to get around the visa rules, the reverse engineer said.
Dullien's company Sabre Security develops a number of tools for analyzing malicious code and other software.
CORRECTION: The original article attributed the wrong product to Sabre Security. The company develops the BinDiff plugin for IDA Pro as well as other analysis tools.
Posted by: Robert Lemos