Feb 5, 2019

Lives of the great hackers

Marcus J. Carey, CEO of Threatcare, realized there was no book collecting the wisdom of cybersecurity's most legendary names. So he self-published one. It's now Amazon's 3rd bestselling book on security and encryption.

Why it matters: "Tribe of Hackers," co-edited with Jennifer Jin, collects the essay-questionnaire responses of 70 big-name hackers and information security pros. For nearly all of them, it's the first time they've put their personalities out for public view alongside their professional skills.

The questions probe everything from security myths to greatest regrets to book recommendations. The interviewees mix their musings on the philosophy of cybersecurity with mentorship and security advice.

  • Neophytes can benefit from veterans' experience — be it in fighting impostor syndrome or catching more attackers by focusing on basic security hygiene than on the latest nation-state threat.
  • With this many experts agreeing o differing on the field's big questions, there's also plenty to challenge even the most hardened worldview of long-time pros.

The background: The project (and title) takes inspiration from 2017's "Tribe of Mentors" by Timothy Ferriss, a compendium of pithy advice. (The genre stretches back to Jessica Livingston's 2001 "Founders at Work.")

  • "I’ve been doing cybersecurity for 20 years, and I've never seen something like this for us," Carey told Codebook.
  • The book's roster includes Fortune 500 security pros, security firm founders, former federal and military team leaders, several internet personalities and keynote regulars.

There's a lot of practical security knowledge in "Tribe of Hackers," but there's equally as much humanity in it.

  • "When you see one of the hackers on TV, it’s usually just someone saying 'Don’t do this,' and then they disappear," said Carey. "You don’t hear the personal struggle, like losing jobs or being a single mother. That’s what I really like about it."
  • Cloud security expert Ian Coldwater writes in the book: "I’ve lived my script out of order, had kids too young, dropped out of school, became homeless, went on welfare. When I was younger, I used to tell people I made a good cautionary tale. But I also think I’ve made a damn good tale of resilience."

Carey says one thing he learned was how much agreement there was on the question, "Do you need a college degree or certification to be a cybersecurity professional?"

  • The consensus answer is no. Even as help wanted ads ask for credentials, most security pros believe there are more informal ways to prove skill.
  • That may surprise people outside the industry. Practitioners are very frequently self- or military-trained; only recently have schools begun focusing on cybersecurity.

The book's proceeds will benefit four charities: Bunker Labs, Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Rainforest Partnership, and Start-Up! Kid's Club.

Our thought bubble: Many contributors answer the "which is the best hacker movie" question incorrectly. It's "Sneakers."

Go deeper

Trump's new purge

Michael Atkinson, arrives in October for closed-door questioning about the whistleblower complaint. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sources close to President Trump expect him to fire more inspectors general across his government.

What they're saying: Conservative allies of the president have told him that these IGs are members of the “deep state” trying to undermine him. Trump appears to have embraced that view.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 1,140,327 — Total deaths: 60,887 — Total recoveries: 233,930Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 278,568 — Total deaths: 7,163 — Total recoveries: 9,920Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primaries by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state has opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: A pivotal Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Military updates: Senators call for independent investigation into the firing of Navy captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. The U.S. military is struggling to find new recruits as enlistment stations are shut down.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

U.S. coronavirus updates: New York reports record 630 deaths in 24 hours

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths in one day.

The big picture: As expected, COVID-19 death tolls are rising in the U.S., killing more than 7,100 people in total, and over 1,000 in 24 hours alone. The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread, marking a significant change in messaging from the Trump administration.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 45 mins ago - Health