The Good Guys in the security world are no different from the Bad Guys; most of them are nothing more than glorified Script Kidies. The fact of the matter is that if you took all of the self-proclaimed hackers in the world and you subjected them to a litmus test, very few would pass as acutal hackers.

This is true for both sides of the so called Black and White hat coin. In the Black Hat world, you have script-kids who download programs that are written by other people then use those programs to “hack” into networks. The White Hat’s do the exact same thing; only they buy the expensive tools instead of downloading them for free. Or maybe they’re actually paying for the pretty GUI, who knows?

What is pitiable is that in just about all cases these script kiddies have no idea what the programs actually do. Sometimes that’s because they don’t bother to look at the code, but most of the time its because they just can’t understand it. If you think about it that that is scary. Do you really want to work with a security company that launches attacks against your network with tools that they do not fully understand? I sure wouldn’t.

This is part of the reason why I feel that it is so important for any professional security services provider to maintain an active research team. I’m not talking about doing market research and pretending that its security research like so many security companies do. I’m talking about doing actual vulnerability research and exploit development to help educate people about risks for the purposes of defense. After all, if a security company can’t write an exploit then what business do they have launching exploits against your company?

I am very proud to say that Everything Channel recently released the 2010 CRN Security Researchers list and that Netragard’s Kevin Finisterre was on the list. Other people that were included in the list are people that I have the utmost respect for. As far as I am concerned, these are some of the best guys in the industry: (clearly this list is not all inclusive and in no way includes all of the people that deserve credit for their contributions and/or talent).

  • Dino Dai Zovi
  • Kevin Finisterre
  • Landon Fuller
  • Robert Graham
  • Jeremiah Grossman
  • Larry Highsmith
  • Billy Hoffman
  • Mikko Hypponen
  • Dan Kaminsky
  • Paul Kocher
  • Nate Lawson
  • David Litchfield
  • Charles Miller
  • Jeff Moss
  • Jose Nazario
  • Joanna Rutkowska

In the end I suppose it all boils down to what the customer wants. Some customers want to know their risks; others just want to put a check in the box. For those who want to know what their real risks are, you’ve come to the right place.