Jeff's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Code Trip

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Las Vegas, NV

JEFF MOSS

Founder
DEF CON

“It’s tough, but you need to be a generalist and you need to be a specialist—you need to be able to see the big picture so that you don’t put all of your energy into last year’s technology.”

INTERESTS:

Engineering Technology

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Hard Work Hobbies & Pastimes Risk Success Fulfillment Inspiration Experience Perseverance Transitions Exploration Passion Education Conflict Culture Individualism Talent

FOUNDATION:

Working with Others

TAGS:

advice, being involved, career, combining interests, commercial, commitment, competition, compromise, computer science, creative, cyber security, different direction, empowerment, excitement, hacking, helping others, jobs, qualifications, resume, time

BIOGRAPHY:

  • He was a criminal justice major in college who always wanted to become an FBI agent and catch “bad guys.”
  • Unfortunately, when he graduated, the federal agencies weren’t hiring anyone, so he decided to focus on his other interest: computers.
  • Simultaneously, the internet boom started taking off, and he was hired by Ernst & Young as an information security consultant.
  • While at Ernst & Young, he started the DEF CON and Black Hat conferences as a side project; at that point, computer security was still considered a hobby to a small community of people.
  • He’s since completed 23 DEF CONs, and the culture has completely changed—now the whole world is watching and interested in security.
  • Says that around DEF CON 3, the conference got too big for him to see everything; now he has to network and ask people, “What’d you experience?”
  • He praises the “freewheeling and fun” atmosphere still found within the hacking community; advises road-trippers to network and collaborate with fellow hackers to build new technology.
  • Says that the ever-changing tech landscape ensures his job security, but also keeps him on his toes trying to keep up; he has to be careful to avoid burnout.

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