#113 Brook Chelmo — Senior Product & Marketing Manager, SonicWall

 
 
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Unhooding the Hackers

In this podcast, Brook Chelmo, Senior Product Marketing and Product Manager at SonicWall, shares insights from his conversations with a Russian ransomware cell. Retweeted by the hackers he referenced, Brook decided to engage. Through secure communication channels, he worked to find out what kind of people they were and what motivated them. He discovered the human behind the hoody and a desire for recognition. It turns out, ransomware hackers want to be known as well as get paid, as notoriety brings not only success but also kudos within their own community.

In an unusual twist, the hacker was willing to talk about the loopholes he exploited: use stronger passwords, code in proper languages, and know misconfigured firewalls are a hackers best friend. Brook points out that these intelligent and technically skilled people with security insights are exactly the kind we ought to be hiring. This points to entirely different kind of diversity debate: How do we hire people we culturally don’t trust?

  • 01:36 — What do you do when a Russian hacker retweets you?
  • 03:07 — Ransomware hackers want to be known.
  • 06:03 — Notoriety often comes with an FBI flag.
  • 08:05 — Security advice from a hacker.
  • 12:13 — Democratizing diversity.

You can find more on ransomware in our podcasts with Jadee Hanson of Code42 and local government CISO Lester Godsey.