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The Stars of Security

Technology may be the heart of security, but some very dynamic people are giving it a face as well

4:20 PM -- When we talk about security, we're usually talking about bits and bytes. But every now and then, we get to hear about the real stories behind today's security industry -- the bright, creative, and sometimes crazy people who discover and create those bits and bytes.

Over the past nine months or so, Dark Reading's top writer, Kelly Jackson Higgins, has made it her mission to bring you closer to some of those inventive and offbeat personalities in the security industry. In the past week, Higgins profiled Joanna Rutkowska, the 26-year-old phenom who was the first to crack the kernel of Microsoft Vista's supposedly "secure" kernel -- but still hasn't learned how to drive a car. (See Black Hat Woman.)

Rutkowska isn't the first to reveal a few personality quirks in the virtual pages of Dark Reading. Last month, Internet founder Vint Cerf let it slip to Higgins that he might not have developed the technology -- if he'd been able to make it as an actor. (See Vint Cerf: Father Knows Best.) And a few weeks before that, security guru Bruce Schneier, one of cryptography's greatest pioneers, revealed that he spends his spare time as a taste-tester in some of the world's best and most offbeat restaurants. (See Schneier On Schneier.)

The list goes on. In a series of profiles of today's 20-something rock stars of security research (a.k.a. hacking), Higgins took us behind the computers of Metasploit inventor H.D. Moore, SecureWorks visionary Jon Ellch, better known as "Johnny Cache," and eEye co-founder Marc Maiffret, who found himself on the wrong end of an FBI agent's gun at the tender age of 17. (See HD Moore Unplugged, Johnny Cache: Man in Black (Hat), and From Script Kiddie to CTO.)

These profiles are more than just good reading. They help to flesh out the personalities of the cryptic, and sometimes secretive, people who identify the vulnerabilities in today's IT environments -- and put us on the road to repair them. They help us to understand how researchers can simultaneously be both devious and ethical. And they give us a chance to laugh with the people who make their living in security -- our visionaries, our peers, and ourselves.

Here at Dark Reading, we're doing our best to deliver a different kind of Web news site -- one that gives respect to technology, but focuses most of its attention on the motivations, attitudes, and personalities behind the technology. Security isn't just about bits and bytes -- it's about protecting people and the companies they work for. Kelly Jackson Higgins' personality profiles are the embodiment of that idea.

In the coming weeks and months, we look forward to bringing you more of this type of "human" coverage. If you have story suggestions about the people who drive the technology -- or about how security technology is driving people -- let us know. We might just follow up your idea with a story.

We've got a few quirky, crazy people here, too.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

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