Real Editor Meets Guest Editor: Q&A with Javvad Malik

Today's guest editor Javvad Malik faces the questions from the real Infosecurity editor Eleanor Dallaway.

What is your favorite thing about Infosecurity Magazine?

The editor – best in the business. Other than that, the breadth of articles, features, topics and webinars gives it a lot of diversity and bring different viewpoints.

If your job as Guest Editor of Infosecurity became permanent, what new content stream would you introduce?

Hmm, that’s a tough one because there are already so many cool content streams.

Perhaps I’d include a video stream that would highlight some of the best conference talks, tutorials, interviews, or other cool stuff people in the industry publish.

How do you describe to your (non-industry) friends what your job is all about?

Given the number of mainstream issues we continue to see, information (cyber) security is a lot better understood than it was a few years ago, so I don’t need to explain as much. Currently, I boil it down to me being a spokesperson to help raise awareness of the importance of knowing when someone has accessed your data.

What makes you really angry about our industry?

Anger is a strong word, but what really vex’s me is the amount of blame that gets thrown around. More specifically, I really get wound up when security professionals blame the ‘users’ for all their woes. It’s a lazy and unhelpful way of looking at the problems and shifts focus away from the real issues at hand.

What gives you hearts in your eyes?

Seeing friends, peers, and colleagues that I’ve known for a long time in the industry gain success. Either through better jobs, as entrepreneurs or recognition.

What’s the best conference talk/keynote/seminar you’ve ever attended?

It’s so difficult to single out one, there are so many to choose from. I frequently find myself admiring speakers for their content, the research they undertake or their delivery.

If I had to narrow my favorite to one talk, then I’d have to say the talk given by Chris Boyd, aka Paper Ghost, at Steelcon entitled ‘Mahkra ni Orroz’ is probably my favorite. It was technically solid, and brilliantly delivered.

What infosec technology could you not live without?

From a personal perspective, I think a password manager has become invaluable in creating, storing and managing credentials. I genuinely don’t know any of my credentials – which I think is a good thing.

From a broader perspective, I’d probably say Twitter and OTX – because these platforms give me direct and unfiltered access to some of the sharpest security minds in the industry.

What’s your dream infosec job?

I think it’s difficult to nail down one specific ‘dream’ job because as one grows and learns new things, your definitions change. I do think what makes a dream job is doing work that you enjoy, plays to your strengths, challenges you and perhaps most importantly, puts you in a team that you respect and work well with. I’m fortunate that my current job ticks all those boxes for me.

Of course, it’s human nature to never really be fully satisfied, but I think once I become wealthy enough and don’t need to work, I’d become a full-time infosec Youtuber and Instagram model. I’d travel the world to conferences and basically become the ‘Rock’ of infosec.

If you could have founded any information security vendor, which would you choose?

I’m going to be biased and say AlienVault. I believed in what the company was doing when I joined, and I still do.

An alternative choice would be BugCrowd. I love the whole concept and the execution behind the company, like a match-making company for vendors and security researchers.

What is the biggest unresolved information security challenge?

Perhaps the biggest – or at least the fastest-growing information security challenge – is businesses understanding the nature and value of the information they collect, store or process.

We have technologies that can assist with most security challenges – however, time and time we see businesses exposed, because they didn’t fully appreciate the value of their own assets.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Looking at the views and likes on my videos :-)

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

There is no competition, it has to be Die Hard: Yippee kay aye! In second place, I’ll say Gremlins.

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