I was reviewing my Bloglines newsfeeds and realized that I almost never read the “information security” blogs.  Every month I get multiple infosec magazines but never read them.  I don’t read security blogs, websites, or mailing lists.  I even cringe when I watch the increasing stacks of news I receive but never read.

When I first became interested in finance a friend told me to to subscribe to magazines like Fortune, etc. and read it for a year, then cancel the subscription.  According to him you learn 80% of the information in the first year and then information is just repeated.

I feel this way about infosec.  Yes, new information is presented but the basics are not changing much.  People talk about “defense in dept” and “endpoint security” as if it’s a new paradigm, when these are just new ways of packaging old concepts. 

These days I follow information in my profession but I feel more connected to the source of the news and participate in the creation of it.  I suppose this is what happens when you grow into a career.  You start to specialize more and more, and describing what you do becomes harder and harder.

The holidays bring people together and catalyze socialization which spurs the question of “What do you do?”  You can take the sarcastic position, but answering this honestly is hard to do.  I used to say:

  • “computers” and then
  • “a good hacker” then I said
  • “computer security” which evolved into
  • “credit card security” but all of this is hard to convey to someone else.

When I tell people that I “help prevent the theft of credit card numbers” they immediately respond with “Oh yeah, identity theft is a real problem”; to which I smile and nod trying to now show the cringe I feel inside.

A pet peeve of mine is when people abuse the “identity theft” moniker.  One of the worst offenders are banks or credit card companies that claim to have “identity theft protection” … grumble, grumble.

So, these holidays as I contemplate making something up when asked about my profession, I think I will just say “computers”.  *smile*