InSecurity Podcast: Old Dog and Young Buck - A Generational Look at Cybersecurity

Spider-Man: “Hey guys, you ever see that really old movie, Empire Strikes Back?” 

War Machine: “Geezus, Tony, how old is this guy?”

Iron Man: “I don't know, I didn't carbon date him. He's on the young side.”

~ Captain America: Civil War; Joe & Anthony Russo, 2016

If you thought Twitter and Facebook outages were bad, then you probably don't remember the great online disruption of 1996.

At the time, CBS Evening News reported that America Online, then the world's largest Internet Service Provider, went down for 19 hours on a Wednesday in August. Peter Van Sant of CBS News had some (in retrospect) completely adorable comments:

"For some netheads and geeks - and that's what they call themselves - the crash of America Online left them feeling lost in cyberspace…"

The reporter went to a "nethead hang out” just to see how lost people were. According to Van Sant, "the worst thing of all for many netheads was having to resort to a more primitive technology: telephones and faxes."

And, just to put things in perspective, AOL did offer its customers a free day of service, which wasn't a bad deal considering a monthly user would have had to pay $41 for 19 hours of online use.

And that's the way it was on Wednesday, August 7th, 1996.

This week on the InSecurity Podcast, Matt Stephenson speaks with University of Florida computer science major Lee Deffebach and BlackBerry Cylance VP of Sales Engineering Rich Thompson. One of them has witnessed the evolution of IT and cybersecurity from the front lines over a 25 year career, and the other offers the perspective of someone born and raised in the digital/internet/mobile era.

Where do they agree? Where do they diverge? What can they learn from each other? Tune in and find out…

About Lee Deffebach
Lee Deffebach is a senior at the University of Florida studying Computer Science. He is interested in functional programming, artificial intelligence, security, and systems engineering.

We don’t know what the future holds for him, but he is definitely worth watching.


About Rich Thompson
Richard Thompson (@TheRichThompson) is Vice President of Sales Engineering North America at BlackBerry Cylance. He has 25+ years of experience in security. This includes 21 years leading security efforts at the regional and national level in the retail industry, and 5 years leading Sales Engineering and Professional Services efforts in the enterprise software industry.

Thompson has experience in forensics, incident response, electronic discovery, information risk management and governance. He joined Cylance in October 2014 in order to help advance the company’s vision of protecting every endpoint under the sun. He also has surprisingly wide-ranging musical tastes.

About Matt Stephenson
Insecurity Podcast host Matt Stephenson (@packmatt73) leads the Broadcast Media team at BlackBerry, which puts him in front of crowds, cameras, and microphones all over the world. He is the regular host of the InSecurity Podcast and host of CylanceTV.

Twenty years of work with the world’s largest security, storage, and recovery companies has introduced Matt to some of the most fascinating people in the industry. He wants to get those stories told so that others can learn from what has come before.