Aaron Barr, former CEO of HBGary Federal before a highly-publicized confrontation with Anonymous, has been mentioned here on 404 Tech Support once or twice (or three or four times) before as part of reporting the news. The security professional recently did an interview with Threatpost at this year’s DEFCON hacker conference. He answered five questions to get us caught up. He was originally going to appear on a panel at the conference titled Whoever fights monsters: confronting Aaron Barr, Anonymous, and ourselves but was forced to withdraw due to threatened legal action from his former employer, HBGary Federal.
While not appearing on the panel, he did attend the conference and had some interesting observations of his last year and attending the conference.
That morning, I donned my disguise: a baseball cap, shorts, t-shirt, and a healthy 5 o’clock shadow. Not too subtle, I know, but most people only know me by the photo of me in a business suit staring at the camera (the only picture available of me on the net.) My disguise didn’t make me look like someone else – just different from what everyone was expecting. And, as with many things in security, that ended up being good enough.
In a much more level-headed conversation than I’ve seen from the guy, I recommend reading Threatpost’s write-up Five Questions About Aaron Barr’s DEFCON (by Aaron Barr) to get a perspective from somebody that has been publicly vilified and largely ostracized by his former employer and some in the security community.
Being at the conference definitely felt odd. Here was a place where so many people knew this very public story about me. I had no idea what to expect. Would I be confronted? Heckled or, possibly, welcomed? I figured, going in, there were good odds that I would have some type of confrontation at some point. But it never came. In fact, it was a great trip. Like all Blackhat/DEFCON trips, I hung out with friends, met new people, had lots of laughs, talked about the state of our industry, drank too much and didn’t sleep enough.