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ICANN names Black Hat/Def Con founder as security chief

Jeff Moss

In a somewhat ironic twist, The Dark Tangent is now, in a way, the chief security officer for the Internet. The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers—ICANN—has named noted hacker and information security specialist Jeff Moss as a Vice President and ICANN’s Chief Security Officer. Moss is best known for founding the Black Hat and Def Con security and hacking conferences, both of which are well-known for revealing significant security threats in widely-used technologies—like Windows, iPhones, and Wi-Fi.

“I can think of no one with a greater understanding of the security threats facing Internet users and how best to defend against them than Jeff Moss,” said ICANN president and CEO Rod Beckstrom, in a statement (PDF). “He has the in-depth insider’s knowledge that can only come from fighting in the trenches of the on-going war against cyber threats.”

Moss has been a self-professed hacker for more than 20 years—occasionally operating under the handle The Dark Tangent—although, in addition to setting up Black Hat and Def Con, he’s also held some significant positions: He was a director at the Secure Computing Corporation, and worked in Ernst & Young’s information security division. He’s also a member of the Obama administration’s Homeland Security Advisory Council and Council on Foreign Relations. Moss also does computer and data security consulting work,. although his new role with ICANN has him relocating to ICANN’s Washington DC offices.

“I’m looking forward to bringing my skill sets to ICANN,” said Moss. “Its role in coordinating the global Internet addressing system means that it is positioned to become the leader in identifying and dealing with online threats to the Domain Name System that could affect two billion global Internet users.”

Although bringing Moss into ICANN undeniably gives ICANN a top-flight expert on information and network security, have a high-profile expert like Moss on board could paint a bit of a target on ICANN’s back. What better way for an ambitious hacker or attacker to make their bones than to infiltrate a system overseen by Jeff Moss?

[Image: Black Hat]