ICANN hires Defcon founder as security chief

Jeff Moss will oversee security at ICANN while also running the Defcon and Black Hat conferences and serving on the Department of Homeland Security advisory council.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills
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Defcon founder Jeff Moss adds ICANN Security Chief to his titles.
Defcon founder Jeff Moss adds ICANN security chief to his titles. ICANN

Jeff Moss, founder of the Defcon hacker conference and an advisor to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has been named chief security officer for the nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Moss has an illustrious past and is well connected in hacker communities and well respected by officials in the U.S. government and security industry. He has been running Defcon for nearly 18 years, since the days when he was better known, at least online, as "Dark Tangent." He also runs the Black Hat briefings security conferences held around the world and was appointed to the DHS Advisory Council two years ago.

Previously, he was a director at Secure Computing and worked at Ernst & Young. He received a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Gonzaga University and also serves on the Council on Foreign Relations.

"I can think of no one with a greater understanding of the security threats facing Internet users and how best to defend against them than Jeff Moss," said Rod Beckstrom, ICANN's president and chief executive officer. "He has the in-depth insider's knowledge that can only come from fighting in the trenches of the ongoing war against cyberthreats."

Paul Vixie, chairman and chief scientist at the Internet Systems Consortium, said Moss has been in the infosec community "since the dawn of time and not only knows where the weak spots are, but also how they got that way" and what to do about them.

Moss will begin working out of ICANN's Washington, D.C. offices on Friday, the organization said in a statement today.