League of Extraordinary Defenders

Announcing the inaugural program committee for the O’Reilly Security conferences.

By Courtney Nash and Allison Miller
May 13, 2016
Pillars Pillars (source: StockSnap via Pixabay)

When we started looking at who we wanted to join our program committee for the inaugural O’Reilly Security conference, we knew we wanted a very different group because the focus of the event is unique—purely defensive security. There are many excellent researchers and leaders working to solve the problems of security today, but when we thought about what we’re trying to accomplish—to truly get down to the nuts and bolts of building better defenses across the board—a few names kept coming up again and again. Each time, after we gave them the pitch (“O’Reilly. Security. Practical defense. Data. Bridging the gap.”) and waited patiently for their reaction, we kept getting the same response: “What took you so long?”

As people began joining the committee, what started off as a list of industry experts suddenly came into focus as a team. Like the A-team, Ocean’s Eleven (in our case, more like 19), or The Avengers. It dawned on us that we’d been selecting this team based on the unique skills and perspectives each person brings, which were really their secret superpowers. But they’re not secret any longer.

Learn faster. Dig deeper. See farther.

Join the O'Reilly online learning platform. Get a free trial today and find answers on the fly, or master something new and useful.

Learn more

One of the best qualities of this supergroup has to be their desire not only to share their superpowers, but to look for superpowers in others. We are bringing defenders together with a common purpose and in a common location, to share concrete solutions. And while you may see our esteemed program committee on stage, we assure you that they’ll also be in the audience. Because the best defenses will not be built, maintained, and continuously adapted in an echo chamber. To blatantly borrow from Jerry Maguire, “you … complete us.” (Ahem, this is where you whisper, “You had me at O’Reilly Security Conference.”)

We’re asking our League of Extraordinary Defenders to take off their masks and share their unique talents with everyone—we’re highlighting a few of them here:

Katie Moussouris: Day Walker
This former computer hacker turned policy hacker is the pied piper to bug bounty hunters, helping organizations better defend themselves from digital attacks.

Jay Jacobs: Super Nice Data Science
He tames all numbers and statistics, and makes them polite and well-behaved.

Wendy Nather: Systems Synthesis
She can understand and analyze a system or concept quickly, explain it to others, and come up with new ways to apply it, combine it with other systems, and further develop it.

Josh Corman: Farsight
He looks out across the borders and boundaries of technical disciplines to the future of InfoSec and cyber safety, and then brings back what he sees in the form of ideas and metaphors we use to move the industry forward.

Eleanor Saitta: Convergent Vision
This defender sees systems, and the humans in systems, and how they all fit together … whether she wants to or not.

Chris Eng: Mind Reader
Delving deep into developers’ psyches to discover what makes them tick, he helps break down the divide between development and security.

Jack Whitsitt: Reverse-Entanglement
He takes jumbled messes, discerns patterns, reframes assumptions, and facilitates more productive paths. He teaches people with saws, hammers, and screwdrivers what a house looks like.

Allison Miller: Shadow Whisperer
She is able to tease out the risks in system and service design so that protections for end users can be designed in (there are data and analytics involved).

This is just a small set of the motley crew that will be bringing this conference together. You can see the rest here. We’re building something new and to get where we want to go, we’re going to need new voices and new talent in the mix. So we’re recruiting! Every security defender out there has their own superpower. What’s yours?

Post topics: Security