BSides Las Vegas: How to Find Fame as an Information Security Professional

At BSides, Malik presented a “new magic quadrant for infosec professionals”
At BSides, Malik presented a “new magic quadrant for infosec professionals”

“Social media had changed my life. Just like a nation getting a WMD (weapon of mass destruction), social media has changed everything.” In a personal and honest presentation, Malik told how his use of social media – particularly videos – have enabled his evolution from “under-represented nobody” to being in a position where he is approached to speak at various industry events and highly-regarded information security professionals are openly admiring his work.

“Mikko Hyponen told me he loved my videos. People I couldn’t have dreamed about even taking to are contacting me to tell me they like my work. My delivery method [social media] is working”, he said. “I’m being more effective with the knowledge I have.”

One of the most noteworthy messages of Malik’s presentation was the importance of content delivery. “We have to articulate ourselves better”, he advised the audience. “A great message needs great delivery. That’s what people are looking for.”

Picking the right social media platform to articulate your message is important, said Malik, who invited the audience to pick “whichever allows you to be the most authentic version of you”.

Malik told the BSides audience that each message should be tailored for a specific channel. “Each deserves a unique delivery style”, he said. “Personally, I start with a concept, I research it, apply creativity and then tailor my message for whichever social media route I use to articulate the concept.”

Information security professionals should not be dismissive of people – including journalists - who do not immediately comprehend the message, Malik warned. “We’re here to explain these issues, so let’s spread the word with the right delivery to allow people to be self-reliant. Let’s make our message more accessible and more friendly.”

Malik concluded his presentation with three poignant tips for marketing yourself through social media:

  1. Share with no expectations
  2. Be consistent
  3. Feelings are important: People like a story and they want a reason to care. Think about how your message makes people feel.

“Information security should make people feel more secure and happier”, concluded Malik, who finished his presentation by playing upbeat music to rolling credits “because that’s what rom-com movies do”, he laughed.

Malik's Magic Quadrant for Infosecurity Professionals

During his presentation, Malik presented a “new magic quadrant for infosec professionals”, a graph charting knowledge and visibility. “Sometimes an information security professional’s ‘fame’ and visibility exceeds their knowledge”, Malik explained. Whilst at the other end of the scale, some professionals are extremely knowledgeable yet less well known and regarded by the industry and the public. Malik’s quadrant is pictured above. 



What’s hot on Infosecurity Magazine?