Mustafa Al-Bassam on Internet Dependence and Privacy
- Co-founder of LulzSec, a high-profile hacking group which made headlines for its hacks on Sony, Fox, and the FBI
- As a result, he was legally banned from the Internet for almost two years
- Gained an appreciation for the protection of data and is now focused on educating the public about cyber security, fostering transparency, and protecting against malware
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Mustafa Al-Bassam is a former hacker who is now an information security advisor at Secure Trading in London, and a doctoral researcher at University College London with a focus on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. At the age of 16, he co-founded LulzSec, a high-profile hacking group which made headlines for its hacks on Sony, Fox, and the FBI. As a result, he was legally banned from the Internet for almost two years as a condition of his bail. He then became a security researcher, with his work being cited in publications such as Forbes, VICE, The Washington Post, and the BBC, and has appeared on national television programmes to educate the public about cyber security.
Mustafa Al-Bassam has previously worked to physically analyse the destruction of computer equipment ordered by GCHQ, that held top secret material leaked from the NSA and GCHQ. He was portrayed as one of the main characters in "The Internet is Serious Business", a play by the Royal Court Theatre, which tells a story about Internet culture.
Since 2011, he has advised human rights defenders around the world on protecting their data and communicating securely online and created a tool for Tunisian dissidents to defend themselves against state-planted malware during the Arab Spring. In 2016, he was named in the Forbes' "30 Under 30" list in the technology section for his work uncovering government surveillance, and in Business Insider's list of "The 100 Coolest People in UK Tech".
He has regularly spoken at international industry events and meetings, including WIRED Security, SecureTour, Cloud Security Expo, and unBound London.
Cyber Security From A Hacker's Viewpoint. As a reformed hacker who was a part of a hacking group that made international headlines, Mustafa Al-Bassam brings a unique viewpoint, case studies, and insider stories to enrich his cyber security keynote talk. There is a lot of speculation and fear in the news every time a large compromise happens, but how do hackers compromise companies in practice?
Politically-Motivated Hacking. There has been a lot of news recently about politically-motivated leaks and state-sponsored hacking, such as the compromise of the DNC suspected by US intelligence being perpetrated by Russia. As someone who has been directly involved in hacktivism (hacking activism) during the Arab Spring as well as various leaks, Mustafa Al-Bassam can shed light on a variety of related topics.
Cryptocurrency, End-To-End Encryption, & The Dark Web. Emerging tools such as cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin), end-to-end encrypted messaging and the dark web provide a great deal of liberty to activists, journalists, and others who may need it. What does the future hold for such tools as governments try to tackle them?
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