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08 June 2009, 09:43

Hacker joins US Government's Homeland Security Advisory Council

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During the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) meeting on June 5th the US Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, swore in new council members. The new members include Jeff Moss, also known as "Dark Tangent", founder of the hacker event DEFCON and the Black Hat security conference. Moss previously worked in the Information System Security division at Ernst & Young and on the board of Secure Computing Corporation, which was acquired by McAfee.

Apart from Moss, the advisory body consists of politicians, policemen, business men and scientists. The chairman is format CIA and FBI chief William Webster. The members of the HSAC make recommendations and give advice directly to the Secretary of Homeland Security.

According to reports, the appointment surprised the 39 year old Moss, who got a call three weeks ago inviting him to join. Moss was told the the DHS was looking for outside perspectives to reinvigorate HSAC and he believes that they need a sceptical outsiders view. Some observers had expected Bruce Schneier to be invited to join HSAC. Others suggested that Moss was really "just bad enough" but really "as corporate as hiring someone out of Microsoft".

The appointment of Moss to HSAC, Moss conceded, will give him an advantage in the traditional DEFCON game of "Spot the Fed", where during the conference, if someone spots a federal employee, they get a t-shirt saying "I spotted the Fed" and the Fed gets one saying "I am the Fed".

Moss is not the first hacker who has advised the US government. In 1998, several members of L0pht, including Mudge, testified before a US Senate committee on the vulnerability of the US internet. After a crippling DDoS in 2000, Mudge was invited to advise President Clinton on DDoS attacks.


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