The 15 Most Influential People in Security Today - 15. Stefan Esser, Hardened PHP Project

By Ryan Naraine  |  Posted 2008-02-12 Print this article Print

If there's a security hole in PHP, chances are it was found by Stefan Esser, an open-source security specialist. Esser's advisories about flaws in Linux, NetBSD, Samba, Ethereal, CVS, Subversion, MySQL and PHP are legendary. He is also known as the first hacker to completely break the DRM (digital rights management) scheme of the Microsoft Xbox with software-only exploits. His "Month of PHP Bugs" project thoroughly exposed the insecure nature of the widely deployed PHP language and forced a rethink about security in the open-source world.

It's never easy to come up with a definitive list of IT professionals with the most influence on the way we secure desktops, networks and mobile devices. And limiting the list to 15 hackers is a near-impossible task, but, in my mind, these are the folks who stand out today as stirring the imagination and forcing us to rethink our approach to security in an always-on world.

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