The first time I attended RSA in 2005, fear and anxiety threatened to consume me. I feared the flights, the crowds and the prospect of failing professionally. Fast-forward to 2016: I’m a veteran infosec journalist who has been to too many conferences to count. I can’t say that I’m done with fear and anxiety, but I’ve brought it largely under control. I’ve met a lot of people who suffer the same debilitating anxiety I used to experience over…  [Read More]

The information security community is losing its collective mind because actors from the much-maligned CSI: Cyber TV series are on the keynote schedule for RSA Conference 2016. Dave Lewis, writing as @gattaca, captured the sentiment: Wait…wait… just…wait. Actors from CSI:Cyber are giving keynotes at RSA? O_o A lot of analysis has been devoted to RSA’s decision. I like the suggestion Violet Blue makes about how maybe, just maybe, RSA is playing a clever joke on us: What if RSA’s ongoing keynote…  [Read More]

Mindfulness has been important for my OCD and anxiety management. When used in the right amounts, the tools are immensely helpful. But mindfulness has a dark side, too. Mood music: Dawn Foster points out the dangers in a post she wrote for The Guardian that asks “is mindfulness making us ill?” In the article, we hear from a 37-year-old woman named Claire, who started suffering from panic attacks and depression when she started taking a mindfulness course. The mindfulness training dregded…  [Read More]

Using Mental Illness to Get Attention

by Bill Brenner January 19, 2016 Compulsive behaviors

I came across an interesting article on the AG News site listing 10 traits of someone who uses mental illness to get attention. A couple years ago it would have offended the hell out of me. But knowing myself as I do today, I see a lot of truth in there. Mood music: People with big egos often think of themselves as supremely awesome and interesting, even when they’re not. As I’ve said before, we OCD…  [Read More]

The Humanity of ShmooCon

by Bill Brenner January 15, 2016 Work-life balance

I’m missing the ShmooCon hacker conference for the second year in a row because of family activities. But it remains a favorite of mine for several reasons. One is how its not afraid to explore how the human condition affects the security profession. Mood music: For starters, ShmooCon has given Johnny Long a platform. Long, one of the world’s foremost hackers, has given presentations on why he started Hackers for Charity, a nonprofit organization using the skills…  [Read More]

Memorial Service for Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister

by Bill Brenner January 10, 2016 Heavy Metal

Those who know me are well aware that I’m a huge fan of Motorhead — particularly founder, singer and bassist Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister. For those who want to watch the full memorial service, click below.

Dear Prudence, I’m Coming For You

by Bill Brenner January 4, 2016 Coping tools

By the end of 2015, I made a decision: I wasn’t going to let newfound pressures and responsibilities overtake the most important things in my life. Managing the loose ends of a family business — a task I inherited when my father died in June — had done just that. It was time to stop. I asked a friend for advice, and he told me to practice prudence. Prudence is about using reason to govern…  [Read More]

Thanks for Everything, Lisa Milso

by Bill Brenner December 30, 2015 Gratitude

I spent my high school years angry, unhinged, unmotivated and unsure of how to live my life. So, before attending Salem State University (then Salem State College), I spent a couple of years trying to find myself at North Shore Community College (NSCC). I took classes mostly at the Lynn campus because it was five minutes from my house. I spent more time in the smoking room than I did in class, and cared more about…  [Read More]

4 Problems with Krypt3ia’s Krampus List

by Bill Brenner December 7, 2015 Infosec

I like Scot “Krypt3ia” Terban. The security researcher has a crotchety communication method I enjoy, and I read his posts a lot. I especially enjoy when he goes after security vendors for FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). So when he released his annual Krampus List — a naughty list for the security community — I read it and laughed a lot. But as I read through it, I found some of it mean spirited. By…  [Read More]

Pearl Harbor Reflection: Why Does God Let This Happen?

by Bill Brenner December 7, 2015 Faith

I know some people who hate God right now. One lost a child to illness. Several have simply had a bad run of luck in recent years. They can’t understand why an all-loving God lets bad things happen to them. I used to be there: When my brother died or when my friend Sean Marley  died. In the aftermath of those events, I wasn’t on speaking terms with God. At other points in my life, like my struggle…  [Read More]