Black Hat, DEF CON Founder Offers Insight Into Security Shows, Trends

Q&A: In-demand consultant and former hacker Jeff Moss offers his takes on trends, privacy, machine learning -- and why you should always keep your keys in your pocket.

The Black Hat professional security conference is under way in Las Vegas through Aug. 6, and several thousand software developers, security administrators, vendors, government operatives, analysts and military officials are communing in Sin City to exchange ideas and sip a brew -- or a few.

As soon as Black Hat ends, DEF CON -- which attracts some of the above people plus a horde of mysterious hacker-type characters -- starts and continues through the weekend, ending Aug. 9.

Both of these celebrated international events were founded by the same man, Jeff Moss (pictured), also known as The Dark Tangent. Moss is a noted American hacker, computer security and Internet security expert. In 2005 Moss sold Black Hat to CMP Media, a subsidiary of UK-based United Business Media, for a reported $13.9 million. DEF CON was not included in the sale.

Moss is a graduate of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. He worked for Ernst & Young in its Information System Security division and was a director at Secure Computing Corp., where he helped establish the Professional Services Department in the United States, Asia, and Australia.

Moss, 40, is currently based in Seattle, where he works as a security consultant for a company that is hired to test other companies' computer systems. He has been interviewed on issues including the Internet situation between the United States and China, spoofing and other e-mail threats and the employment of hackers in a professional capacity, including in law enforcement.

In 2011, Moss was named Vice President and Chief Security Officer of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the multinational non-profit organization working for a secure, stable and unified global Internet.

Moss is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. The Council on Foreign Relations is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher. In 2009, Moss was asked to join the White House's Homeland Security Advisory Council.

Moss, who did a personal speaking appearance for Vectra Networks at the RSA Security Conference, and eWEEK's Chris Preimesberger met earlier this year in San Francisco. On the next three pages are key excerpts from that interview.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...