Jeff Moss, the founder of the Black Hat and Defcon conferences is now officially helping the U.S Government. Moss was sworn in on Friday by U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano to the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC).
HSAC is a group of 16 member from various sectors of the US economy that provides advice to the DHS secretary. Moss is an incredible addition to the HSAC in my view.
Black Hat and Defcon as conferences have always skirted the thin line between legitimacy and hacking, always trying to stay on the right side in my view. Moss’s approach has been to expose the issues and the research that leaves IT users at risk – with an eye towards responsible disclosure.
Sure there have been issues in the past (and likely always will be) with session being pulled at a Black Hat event — that’s part the mythos of Black Hat. But Moss is the man that is at the center of it all. He sees both sides of the equation with the vendors and the researcher.
It makes good sense for the DHS to lean on Moss’s expertise as part of its efforts to secure the US. I’ve seen plenty of ‘Feds’ at Black Hat events over the years (often on the ‘Meet the Feds’ panels) and the Government has made a plea in the past for more security research involvement and participation in the cyber defense of the US.
While the advice of one man alone will not make the US secure, Moss’s voice is one that I personally am really glad that DHS is now officially listening too.