We face cyber threats from state-sponsored hackers, hackers for hire, global cyber syndicates, and terrorists. They seek our state secrets, our trade secrets, our technology, and our ideas - things of incredible value to all of us. They seek to strike our critical infrastructure and to harm our economy.
-- James Comey
I'm a hacker, but I'm the good kind of hackers. And I've never been a criminal.
What happens on InSecurity when Matt Stephenson sits down with Rob Willis, a top-flight ethical hacker, red-teamer and all around cybersecurity expert to talk about… comic books? You get a brand new comic universe created by hackers for hackers that it rooted in actual technology and hacking. The Paraneon Universe is as much cyber-fact as it is science fiction. When you get bored with the same capes, cowls and armor… come check out what the real future is going to look like in Paraneon… where you can’t punch your way out of everything.
About Rob Willis
To date Rob has self-funded the creation of these titles and other Paraneon assets and will continue to create and expand the Universe with exciting characters and storylines pressure.
By day he is an InfoSec professional. Rob runs consulting at 1337 Inc among other things. He is a Red team, Blue team, and purple team professional. He isnt just breaking into things for clients, he’s also building and running security programs.
He is also a part of the hacking collective Sakura Samurai. You may not know them yet, but you’ve likely read about their work already.
In a Previous life, Rob was a Researcher at the Breach and Attack Simulation Pioneer ThreatCare.
He has worked places he can’t disclose, but which I have personally verified… It’s legitimate, as crazy as that sounds. His most mind numbing accomplishments cannot be talked about publicly, but if you become his friend he will likely show you some insane stuff -- as long as it doesnt compromise national security.
The Paraneon Universe is comprised of technocentric cities, underground worker colonies, and apocalyptic 'drylands'. All factories and production has been moved to Mars due to pollution, and there's more Androids on Mars than Humans.
The Hive Network
The Hive is a massive incubator-like structure that humans are placed inside of while their minds integrate with a virtual reality world. Joining the Hive is voluntary, and requires each member to purchase their spot within it. Those in the Hive decided to be added to it, to ‘retire’ after working many years as a lower-class member of society, where most of their time was spent training — then working — in a specialized trade associated with the underground worker colony they were born into.
The world is advanced with technocentric cities, but living in a city requires decades of saving for a colony member who hopes to purchase citizenship in one. The class system dictates the resources and quality of life more than any period throughout history, and aside from the tribal peoples of the desolate drylands, colony members are the lowest part of society.
Why would someone choose to be a member of the Hive? It’s not a hard decision for someone to live the remainder of their life in a world where they can have and be whatever they choose.
It may not be real, but over time it becomes difficult to imagine virtual reality as anything but reality. For this reason many refer to the Hive as the ‘great equalizer’, convinced that their lives in reality are nothing but a painful stepping stone on the path to their digital salvation.
Portals takes place in the drylands. The 'drylanders' do not take kindly to tech or strangers. The first story arc introduces an undercover police officer from one of the cities who enters the drylands in an attempt to blend in, all while searching for 'dangerous' fugitives.
Sudo is a talented hacker who is placed in a research program surrounding bio-hacking on Mars. He uncovers a massive conspiracy when accidentally finding that many androids, billed as 'next-gen AI' are actually cyborgs, implanted with human brain tissue. Can he sound the alarm and 'free' the cyborgs before he gets killed?
About Matt Stephenson
Insecurity Podcast host Matt Stephenson (@packmatt73) leads the Broadcast Media team at BlackBerry, which puts me in front of crowds, cameras, and microphones all over the world. I am the regular host of the InSecurity podcast and video series at events around the globe.
I have spent the last 10 years in the world of Data Protection and Cybersecurity. Since 2016, I have been with Cylance (now BlackBerry) extolling the virtues of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and how, when applied to network security, can wrong-foot the bad guys. Prior to the COVID shutdown, I was on the road over 100 days a year doing live malware demonstrations for audiences from San Diego to DC to London to Abu Dhabi to Singapore to Sydney. One of the funniest things I've ever been a part of was blowing up a live instance of NotPetya 6 hours after the news broke... in Washington DC... directly across the street from FBI HQ... as soon as we activated it a parade of police cars with sirens blaring roared past the building we were in. I'm pretty they weren't there for us, but you never know...
Every week on the InSecurity Podcast, I get to interview interesting people doing interesting things all over the world of cybersecurity and the extended world of hacking. Sometimes, that means hacking elections or the coffee supply chain... other times that means social manipulation or the sovereign wealth fund of a national economy.
InSecurity is about talking with the people who build, manage or wreck the systems that we have put in place to make the world go round...
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