Black Hat 2017 Takeaways: Treating the Root of End-User Risk

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Last week, I got to spend time with many other members of the security community at Black Hat USA 2017. Despite being in the infosec space for the past ten years, this was my first time attending the event, and I was impressed with the breadth of topics covered. None too surprising, I found a lot of interesting talks in the “Human Factors” track, but it was refreshing to see how broadly this community is looking at security.

Though future blog posts will dig into additional topics that piqued my interest during my time in Las Vegas, I wanted to use this post to highlight the point that most resonated with me during the show, which I heard during the keynote by Alex Stamos, Facebook’s Chief Security Officer. While Stamos offered a number of great insights, the one that stuck with me was the statement that we too often focus on fixing a specific issue or bug, and fail to think about the root cause and how we can address that. I found this to be sage advice not just for the security space, but for life in general. That’s not to say we should go philosophical and “meta” with every problem presented to us every day, but when you see similar things happening over and over, it’s worthwhile to take a step back and attempt to look at the situation with fresh eyes. Doing so can help reveal a fundamental issue that has been overlooked, thus causing repeated issues.

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