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Hacker or criminal? Repairing the reputation of the infosec community. - (BSides Boston 2015) (Hacking Illustrated Series InfoSec Tutorial Videos)

Hacker or criminal? Repairing the reputation of the infosec community.

Melanie Ensign

BSides Boston 2015

Recent legislation and media stories reflect an inaccurate, often criminal, if not confused picture of the infosec community. There is an inherit level of FUD regarding who we are and what we do, compounded by natural complexity of security issues. Without accurate and honest communication, we've left those outside our community to create their own definitions and understanding of infosec. The resulting perpetuation of inaccurate perceptions distorts the numerous positive contributions to and impacts on society. Perhaps unwittingly, we've created a reputation of being a spiteful, disorderly group incapable of providing effective security without intervention from a higher power, whether government or vendor. The current misperception that hackers are malicious by nature is largely a result of our failed relationships with media, legislators, and consumers. However, we have the power to decide what we want our reputation to be and act accordingly to shift public perception toward a more accurate reflection of who we are. This talk will provide an introduction to media engagement as a tool for reputation management as well as a suggested path forward for repairing the current reputation of the infosec community.

Bio: Melanie leads the cybersecurity group at FleishmanHillard, an integrated global communications firm. Her team provides strategic counsel for Fortune 100 CSOs and security engineers across a range of communications disciplines including media relations, employee awareness, incident response, hacker relations, disclosure incentives, social engagement, and public policy. Melanie currently designs and manages programs for the firm's largest global security clients and serves as public relations Goon for DEF CON and r00tz Asylum. She holds a Master of Science degree in corporate public relations from Boston University where she also taught courses on corporate communications.

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