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Can we learn from hackers?

5 min read

Keren Elazari is a cybersecurity expert and is an internationally celebrated researcher, author and speaker on all matters related to cybersecurity and hacker culture. She moves through business, academic and security circles, researching new technologies and emerging security threats.

In the digital age, hackers can dominate the world stage, wielding more power than politicians and global corporations. Naturally, we are all terrified of hackers. Headlines tend to overestimate hackers’ capabilities but underestimate hackers’ ethics and motivation. I for one believe that not all hackers are bad. In fact, some hackers may even hold the keys to securing our future.

In my talks, I like to invite people to join me on a quick journey into the hacker’s world – a tour that opens people’s mind, challenges our perspectives on the future, and transforms the way we think about internet security. You may still be skeptical- but ask yourself, can you afford NOT to learn from hackers?

As we connect more elements of our lives and make them smarter, we may be exposing ourselves to new types of disruptive attacks on critical systems such as electricity, transportation, healthcare and water systems. Cyber criminals, spies and terrorists are not just going after our secrets, our files, databases and credit numbers. They are now going after the TRUST that we place in the digital infrastructure that powers our modern lifestyle. That’s why I believe that our future may be defined by our efforts to balance technology’s benefits against the risks it brings with it. This is not an easy puzzle to solve – and hackers can actually help us! Believe it or not, there are thousands of friendly hackers out there. Security researchers, like me, that are eager to help. In fact, they might just be the immune system of the information age. They show us what’s possible, what’s broken, and what can be better. They make us stronger, and we need their help.

In this TED talk you can see why I think we need hackers. If we can start to think like hackers do, and embrace the hacker spirit, we can also use their methodology to test our defenses and develop solutions to keep our technology safe. I challenge you to start looking at hackers in a different light, and learn everything you can from what they can teach us.

CSA Speaker Bulletin June 2019


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