We had enough conversations about the relationship between technology, cybersecurity, and technology to know that people have different expectations, hopes, and visions. Some utopian, some dystopian, and some are Marcus J. Ranum.
We've had enough conversations about the relationship between technology, cybersecurity, and technology to know that people have different expectations, hopes, and visions. Some utopian, some dystopian, and some are Marcus J. Ranum.
We met Marcus J. Ranum a few years ago during an ISSA Los Angeles Summit, where we had an inspiring and thought-provoking conversation about the idea of needing the equivalent of a Geneva Convention for cybersecurity. Given the many twists and turns the conversation had, it was at that point that we knew Marcus had a different perspective on cyber life, as many other professionals do.
Jump ahead a few years to our partnership with ISSA International to bring to life the Official ISSA International Podcast to ITSPmagazine, and we find ourselves with the opportunity to have an extended Luminaries Series chat with Marcus—this time looking at things through the lens of our Redefining Security channel. We take a look at the past, where Marcus was instrumental in bringing to life the first information security firewalls, and from there, we leaped into the present and the future. Buckle up, because it is not a pleasant stroll in the park, and it got pretty dark, very quickly.
In 1976, when Marcus "got into computing," the deployment of systems involved running a wire to a terminal, plugging it in, and enabling the operating system. And, when we say "enabling the operating system" we mean actually building a kernel for your system that you were going to run it on, configuring the hardware, and configuring the device drivers that you needed in the operating system for the hardware that you were going to run everything on.
"We didn't have all these gigantic driver frameworks as we do nowadays. Everything was kind of low and slow, and lean and mean… it had to be because there wasn't infinite amounts of memory nor infinite amounts of processing power. And that had a direct effect on the way security evolved." —Marcus J. Ranum
Fast forward 40+ years—where have we landed—where are we headed?
As you will hear, Marcus has a very dark view of the future of security; a future that involves software engineers, hardware engineers, increased complexity, ongoing abstraction, and an overall lack of comprehension of how things work. This story may be ripe for the picking for a Hollywood flick to hit your favorite streaming service. However, it may not be the traditional Hollywood ending that you might expect.
Come on, join us for this journey. It's one you won't want to miss being part of.
Is there hope for the future of technology and humanity?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Marcus J. Ranum
Book: The Myth of Homeland Security by Marcus Ranum: https://www.amazon.com/Myth-Homeland-Security-Marcus-Ranum/dp/0471458791
Book: Huawei and Snowden Questions: https://openlibra.com/en/book/the-huawei-and-snowden-questions
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