Cybersecurity can be a tough field to follow. With so many sub-disciplines, technically complex innovations, and fast-moving threats to keep track of, staying well-informed can be an overwhelming task. However, the rise of cybersec has also seen the triumph of the cybersecurity experts – and these influencers can make staying on top of things so much easier.
From journalists and programmers to academics, science writers, and entrepreneurs, we’ve put together a list of the 10 leading cybersecurity experts to follow.
So bookmark them on your browser and add them to Twitter (we’ve included the best link for each expert to help you get started). Their knowledge could make all the difference when keeping your systems safe this year.
1. Bill Brenner
Currently the Research Director at the Institute for Applied Network Security (IANS) and formerly the editorial head of Akamai Technologies, Bill Brenner is always at the cutting edge of today’s security developments. Since 2014, he has delivered concise, brilliantly insightful updates via the Liquidmatrix Security Blog, as well as Naked Security, where he regularly contributes to their acclaimed podcasts. His tweets about life in general are pretty inspiring, too.
A hacker turned security guru, Kevin Mitnick has come a long way since being arrested in 1995 for wire fraud and cloning cellphone codes. Since his release from jail, he has gathered a cult following, especially among free software and hacking communities, but his consultancy services are always in demand from Fortune 500 companies as well. These days, Mitnick Security is paid to hack corporate systems (with a 100% success rate), and Kevin himself is constantly featured among guest cybersecurity experts at industry events.
3. Brian Krebs
The creator of the popular Krebs on Security blog, Brian Krebs is an investigative journalist who seeks to go well beyond the superficial coverage which characterizes so much of the tech press. An alumnus of the Washington Post, where he wrote the Security Fix blog from 1995-2009, Krebs has focused on security since a traumatic home-hacking event in 2001, and his work continues to set the agenda.
A prolific author on digital security themes (13 books and counting), Bruce Schneier makes complex subjects accessible to the layman in a way that cybersecurity experts can do. He’s a Harvard fellow, has more than 250,000 newsletter subscribers and is a key member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In fact, few experts on our list are as well connected. Via books like “Click Here to Kill Everybody” (on the dangers of smart devices) and countless essays and online talks, Schneier is also a go-to authority on today’s emerging threats. So make sure you bookmark his homepage.
Occupying the digital security beat for the New York Times, Nicole Perlroth is one of the most influential writers on this list. She played a key role in unmasking the NSA’s spying activities and has been praised for her coverage of Chinese cyber-espionage. Look out for her new book “This Is How They Tell Me The World Ends”, and track her every word at Twitter, where Perlroth maintains an engaging presence. Additionally, look out for an upcoming movie that’s been written by Perlroth about Brian Krebs (another star on our list). Not many movies get cybersec right, but with Nicole’s expertise on board, this one should do fine.
One of the most respected figures in the world of cybersecurity, Kaspersky was the founder of Kaspersky Labs back in 1997 – which is one of the biggest antivirus companies around. But he hasn’t rested on his laurels. Instead, Kaspersky’s online activities make him one of the key influencers in today’s tech security community, whether that’s via his Twitter account or SecureList, where Kaspersky Lab issues regular threat reports. Firmly outside the US orbit, Kaspersky is also a good alternative voice for anyone interested in official espionage and the wider world of surveillance tech.
Bringing a breath of fresh air to the cybersec world, Canadian Leigh Honeywell fuses witty geek feminism with on-point tech smarts and has been dubbed the “catalyst” for the current wave of activism in the digital sector. On a more everyday level, she’s the brains being Hypatia.ca and Tall Poppy, and a world authority on developing ways to keep employee communications as safe as possible. Moreover, if harassment is an issue at your organization, Honeywell is the person to ask.
8. Kim Zetter
One of Wired’s key contributors, Kim Zetter is a global authority on cryptography, so we had to include her on our top 10 list. From the flaws associated with electronic voting machines to the meaning of the famous Kryptos sculpture outside the CIA’s HQ, Zetter’s work never fails to fascinate. And when contemporary stories break, she always seems to be on top of them – so keep tabs on her Twitter if you want to stay in-the-know.
9. Dave Kennedy
The founder of TrustedSec, Dave Kennedy mixes interests in everything cybersec related, with hardcore gaming. Possessing years of experience inside the military industrial complex via the US Marines and Diebold, Kennedy knows how security is being implemented and potentially abused by the powers that be. And he has piloted TrustedSec to pole position among global cybersec consultancies. Even so, he still maintains a close relationship with his following via his Twitter persona HackingDave, where Kennedy dispenses up to the minute updates on malware, smart devices, and whatever’s going on in his life.
10. Adam Levin
One of the foremost experts on identity theft, Adam Levin is always in demand from major TV networks and IT conferences. What’s more, as identity theft becomes an ever more pressing issue, his blog is simply a must-read resource for anyone who processes payments or shops online. And it’s not all about fraud. Levin ranges widely, writing about Iranian use of social media, voting machines, Bitcoin mining, and how the DoD (misuses) cybersec. So there’s something for everyone there – don’t miss out.
Those 10 cybersecurity experts are constantly working to keep IT systems safe, and to popularize knowledge of cybersecurity. But when it comes down to it, only you can secure your own devices. So take their advice and put it into practice.
And if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask them. We’ve picked some of the most approachable cybersecurity experts around – not remote arrogant robots. They’ll surely be happy to help.