Staring into the Abyss: The Dark Side of Security and Professional Intelligence presented at BlackhatUSA 2011

by Richard Thieme,

Summary : Nothing is harder to see than things we believe so deeply we don't even see them. This is certainly true in the "security space," in which our narratives are self-referential, bounded by mutual self-interest, and characterized by a heavy dose of group-think. That narrative serves as insulation to filter out the most critical truths we know about our work.
An analysis of deeper political and economic structures reveals the usual statements made in the "security space" in a new context, one which illuminates our mixed motivations and the interpenetration of overworlds and underworlds in our global society. Crime and legitimacy, that is, are the yin/yang of society, security, and our lives. You can't have one without the other. And nobody should know this better than hackers.
This presentation will make you think twice before uncritically using the buzzwords and jargon of the profession - words like "security," "defense," and "cyberwar." By the end of this presentation, simplistic distinctions between foreign and domestic, natural and artificial, and us and them will go liquid and the complexities of information security will remain ... and permeate future discussions of this difficult domain.
As a result, we will hopefully think more clearly and realistically about our work and lives in the context of the political and economic realities of the security profession, professional intelligence, and global corporate structures.