The Courage of Brian Krebs

by Bill Brenner February 20, 2014 Courage

Brian Krebs has been kind enough to compliment me on this blog a few times, telling me I have courage for writing about the demons. Today I celebrate Krebs’ courage, which is far more formidable than anything I could ever hope to possess. Mood music: For years at The Washington Post (which foolishly cut him loose) and more recently through Krebs on Security, the man has relentlessly investigated online crime and written scores of groundbreaking…  [Read More]

Proof That Mental Illness Needn’t Be A Career Killer

by Bill Brenner January 29, 2014 Courage

A few months back, I was interviewed for a Forbes article on people who turned their mental illnesses into a career strength. I’m happy to discover there are more success stories to share. Mood music: A good friend forwarded me “Why I Hired an Executive with a Mental Illness” by Rob Lachenauer, CEO and a co-founder of Banyan Family Business Advisors. Lachenauer describes hiring someone after a job interview in which the candidate came right…  [Read More]

Wherein I Run Afoul Of The U.S. Secret Service

by Bill Brenner January 24, 2014 Communication skills for the crazy

My resolve against the inner demons is tested regularly. Some are little tests, like being put in a room with all the food and alcohol I once binged on daily to see if I can resist the temptation. Some are bigger tests, like getting lost en route to Washington D.C a few years ago with my wife and kids in the car. Getting lost in a car used to be the stuff my anxiety attacks were made…  [Read More]

The First Victim of 9/11

by Bill Brenner June 19, 2013 Courage

I’ve been studying up on Akamai Technologies’s history since starting work in the InfoSec department earlier this month. One of the coolest and most moving lessons has been a study of company co-founder Danny Lewin, who died aboard Flight 11 on 9/11 when terrorists drove it into the north tower of the World Trade Center. Mood music: Lewin is actually considered the first casualty of that terrible day because he was killed during an attempt…  [Read More]

Julian Assange: Autistic Hacker Or Just An A-hole?

by Bill Brenner April 9, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

Last year I wrote a post about a report suggesting autism is an affliction of the brilliant. One man mentioned as an example was WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has described himself as having the “hacker’s disease.” Yesterday, a reader’s comment inspired me to revisit the issue. Mood music: [spotify:track:74Tgft8pxSCO0nkf4uxiM4] The reader said in part: This compares a neurological disorder to genius people whose curiosity takes finite state machines to places that their creators never imagined. How’s…  [Read More]

RIP, Renee Pelletier Costa

by Bill Brenner March 12, 2013 Courage

This morning I received the sad news that Renee Pelletier Costa passed away after a long and courageous battle against cancer. Mood music: [spotify:track:3UjJmliWxuobgMSdX5bN3R] Updates:  Renee’s memorial service will be held Saturday, March 23, 1:30 at Faith Lutheran Church, 360 South Main St., Andover MA 01810 In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the: Renee L. Costa Memorial Fund, account #8371787589 Care of: TD Bank 280 Main Street Groveland, MA 01834 or any local TD…  [Read More]

Fatherhood Saved Ozzy, Eddie & Me

by Bill Brenner May 4, 2012 Addiction

Yesterday I watched the “God Bless Ozzy Osbourne” documentary, which focused heavily on how his addictions maimed him and his family over four decades. Though my addictive behavior pales by comparison, it still struck a chord. Mood music: [spotify:track:6xb9RiyqpDXWF4wUYPDwI2] What hit me deepest is how Ozzy finally decided to get real sobriety after his son Jack had kicked drugs and alcohol. It took his son to show him the light. There’s a similar plot in…  [Read More]

Addiction — And Security Journalism — Showed Me That Anonymity Matters

by Bill Brenner April 27, 2012 Addiction

Journalists like me have never been particularly comfortable using anonymous sources. When you don’t name names, someone inevitably questions if your source is real or imagined. But after dealing with some addictions in recent years, I feel differently about it. Mood music: There are some important distinctions to be made from the outset: I’ve written opinion pieces in my day job as a security journalist that have been critical of the hacker group Anonymous for…  [Read More]

When The Going Gets Tough, I Disconnect

by Bill Brenner April 17, 2012 Addiction

I’m leaving my weekly therapy sessions with a headache these days, because I’m working through another deeply embedded flaw in my soul. Mood music: It’s not nearly as bad as the therapy I had in 2004-2006, when I had to endlessly churn the sewage of my childhood memories in search of clues on what was wrong with me and how I got that way. Back then, I didn’t know myself very well. Now I do….  [Read More]

Small Victories

by Bill Brenner April 15, 2012 Coping tools

Duncan and I took my father on a little walk around Deer Island yesterday. Dad still struggles from the stroke he had last year, but days like yesterday I admire his fighting spirit. Mood music: I’ve been reluctant to take him on long walks, mainly because I don’t want him taking a nasty spill on my watch. But it was a beautiful spring day and he was eager, so who was I to argue? Deer…  [Read More]