Every once in a while I take time out to go to a hackers’ conference. You say hackers and people picture the cliché of the guy (and people do picture guys) dressed in black probably in their bedrooms and probably wearing a V for Vendetta mask.
There was a time when a hack was simply a work around. Hackers were people who experimented and tested and innovated, often on a kitchen-table level. It’s only more recently that the term has become synonymous in the popular mind with cyber vandalism.
I go because hackers are some of the most interesting, stimulating and thought provoking people I know.
The highlight this year was definitely getting three of the keynote speakers around a mic. Katie Moussouris was, until the day before I interviewed her, lead at Microsoft’s security response centre (she’s now joined HackerOne), Jennifer Steffens, CEO of IO Active and Jaya Baloo, CISO at KP telecom in the Netherlands.
The great thing about the show was that all the keynoters were women – a really good milestone in digital security and a great message not just for women in tech but for everybody.
And it was such fun interviewing them. There’s nothing I like better than the company of really smart people and these three are really good people to play catch-up with.
A cut down version of this appeared on Click! on the BBC World Service. I thought it would be fun to post the whole thing.