Jayson Street hacker bank robber hugs social engineering

Jayson Street – Hacking and Social Engineering and Why There are No ‘Black Hat’ Hackers

TechSpective Podcast Episode 063

What is a hacker? This is a question that has been debated for decades in the cybersecurity arena. Media conflated hacker and cybercriminal very early on, and it has been challenging to correct that error and separate the terms. I even wrote as far back as 2005 that the debate was lost and the word “hacker” had already been co-opted, and that we should give up and stop having that fight. Not everyone agreed–or agrees today.

Jayson Street–my guest for this episode of the TechSpective Podcast–is one of those people that continues the fight to reclaim the word hacker. Street explains that hacking and hackers predate the computer age, and that there is nothing inherently malicious or criminal about hacking. As he explains in the podcast–he is quite comfortable on that hill, and it’s a hill he is willing to die on.

We also talk about Jayson’s activities as a “professional bank robber”–and the crucial role that social engineering often plays. For fans of 80s movies, we manage to pull in references to “Fletch” and “Beverly Hills Cop” as well.

If you want to see more from Jayson and his views on hacking and cybersecurity, check out his website. It contains links to sites like iR0nin, books Street has written or contributed to, and clips of videos he appears in like this clip from National Geographic:

Check out the full episode for more about hacking and hackers. We also touch on the fact that we both live in Texas and the challenges of surviving the COVID-19 pandemic in a state that actively rejects science and logic as an ideological principle. Both of us are looking forward to resuming cybersecurity events in person and being able to hang out face to face in Las Vegas for Black Hat because we have both had the common sense to get vaccinated.

The podcast itself is audio only, but the video of our conversation is also available on YouTube if you prefer:

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