Oct 6th, 2020
In this episode of the Hacker Valley Studio podcast’s Hacker Valley Red series, this time featuring guest Ted Harrington. Ted is an Executive Partner at ISE Security, an author, and a professional speaker. Hosts Ron and Chris speak with Ted about the concept of unhackability, his experience in the security field, an interesting story of an attack in real time, and more!
To start off the interview, Ted shares about his background. He currently works for a consulting firm that focuses on ethical hacking and aims to help companies solve their security problems, and his interest in the work of hacking goes back to a car-hacking experience in which he and his colleagues were inspired by a claim of unhackability and disproved the claim. Ted clarifies that there is effectively no such thing as an unhackable device or application, but that his work centers on closing attack vectors and making security systems stronger. In fact, he wants his legacy in the field to center on making things better. He shares about his own energy and motivation, and also explains the mindset of a hacker, which involves creativity and a certain way of thinking about and solving problems.
Ted has learned a great deal in his years in the hacking field, and Ron and Chris are eager to draw lessons out for listeners. Ted explains misconceptions about the red side of security before providing an extended example of hacking in real time: an example of cryptocurrency wallets that involved Ted and his team happening upon a real thief at work. Ted explains that people should not have a laissez-faire attitude about security, and that they should foster a right mindset and right partnerships. He clarifies that he sees many breakers start as builders, explains the utility of thinking from the perspective of a buyer, and offers advice for listeners looking to enter the field. This advice centers on mindset and hands-on activity; there are lots of opportunities to get involved with DEF CON, talks, contests, and even internships (including some at Ted’s company).
1:50 - The episode features Ted Harrington; listeners are introduced to him and the episode ahead.
3:05 - The conversation begins with Ted’s background.
7:21 - The group considers the term “unhackable,” closing attack vectors, and breakers starting as builders.
14:02 - “Think like a hacker.”
20:02 - Ted explains some lessons from real-life work, focusing on a cryptocurrency wallet example.
25:13 - What should people learn and do?
30:38 - Where do Ted’s energy and motivation come from, and what is the most interesting part of his work?
34:32 - Ted offers advice and shares what he hopes his legacy in the field will be.