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#BHUSA: Jeff Moss Talks of Need to Be Better Communicators

Opening Black Hat USA’s keynote, founder Jeff Moss talked of the need to focus on better communication, and look at “how we communicate and what we talk about.”

Moss said that a lot of the talks over the past 20+ years at Black Hat had been on wanting the attention of management and political leaders and the board. Now they are listening, he questions what the industry are going to do with that.  

“How we communicate really determines our outcomes, so for example now that the spotlight is on us, if we communicate well to the board you might get more budget, and if you communicate poorly to the board, you might get fired,” he said.

He asked how you communicate what “cyber” or “security” is and the language we use causes us to think of problems in a certain way and “leads in a direction we may not want to go in.”

Moss used the example of cyber being seen as the fifth domain by the military, but said that does not mean it is equal “and we are using language in a way that doesn’t fit.”

Moss said that despite being in the early days of the internet, there are going to be several defining trends, including “centralized versus decentralized”, which Moss said he believes in the latter “but there are efficiency gains in centralized.”

Moss said that we’re in a “centralization phase” and that will enable law enforcement and regulation and if the trend continues, he speculated, none of us will be surprised that we are more regulated.

“I’m a big believer that most of our problems are communications problems,” he said, saying that inDEFCON post-mortems, 80% of the problems are communications related and “totally fixable communications problems.”

Moss concluded by saying: “This gives me a lot of hope because we can fix communications problems. We are not inventing a new kind of maths, but what we have to do is reorder the way we think about things and reorder the way in which we communicate things and once we do that, you’ll see we will get completely different outcomes. Whether it is outcomes from our boss, or politicians or regulation. It is a bit of a soft skill that leads to better outcomes.”

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