Thursday, September 17, 2009

this just in

So, in case you're not aware of it, there's an online petition to appoint Peiter Zatko to the President's Post of Cybersecurity Chief (also known as the Cybersecurity Czar). As soon as I heard of the petition, I clicked through to sign it, even though I'm not sure what, if any, effect the petition will have on Mr. Obama's decision. The fact of the matter is that I admire Mr. Zatko so much that I couldn't fail to sign it.

Mr. Zatko, who is currently 38 years old, has been a researcher in the field of network security for as long as the field has been extant. In 1995, he published the seminal white paper on the buffer overflow attack, "How to Write Buffer Overflows", which remains an important tutorial on the topic today for hackers of all varieties. Choosing to use his abilities to help rather than harm the government, he was one of several hackers to testify on security weaknesses before a Senate committee in 1998. Two years later, he met with then-President Clinton at a summit on network security. Currently, he is a division scientist at BBN, who knows a good thing when they see it (they wooed him back again after losing him in the '90's to @stake, which was essentially the L0pht gone corporate).

I believe that Mr. Zatko could ably perform the position of Cybersecurity Czar; in fact, he is uniquely suited to this position simply because of his background in grey hat hacking. My feeling is that if Mr. Obama is serious about network security, he will appoint Mr. Zatko or someone very much like him to this very important post.

Go for it, Mudge!

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