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Obama Administration Adds World Renowned DefCon Hacker to Homeland Security Advisory Council

June 6, 2009

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Jeff Moss, who you may know as the founder of the hacking conference DefCon, was sworn in yesterday as one of the new members of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. And we think it’s a shrewd and thoughtful move.

Moss, also known as Dark Tangent, founded both the DefCon and Black Hat hacker conferences in addition to legit security work—most notably at Ernst and Young, one of those giant corporations that provides auditors, attorneys, brokers, designers, and lots more to other companies. He’s a sort of godfather of hackers, a pioneer who uses his underground skills in mostly above-ground ways.

As the Obama administration has been placing a heavier focus on cybersecurity, it’s an extremely smart move to ask one of the world’s foremost professional hackers to assist on the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council. He’s got enough expertise to really be able to offer some help, but he’s also not a dangerous hacker—one analyst called him “as corporate as hiring someone out of Microsoft,” meaning that for the hacking world, Moss is hardly a loose cannon. But that’s exactly why it’s also a smart political choice. Picking a hacker seems like an edgy choice, but Moss is a guy who’s worked for Fortune 500 companies, not someone who’s working in his basement to bring down the power grid.

I’m looking forward to seeing cybersecurity finally advance, and this kind of guy is just what we need to get ourselves back on track. Let’s just hope that this doesn’t end up like the movie Live Free or Die Hard. Seriously.

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