Hacking Academia

Anita N

Speaker Bio

Anita is a security and networking researcher who’s floated between industry, academia and government. You can easily capture her attention with an interesting story or idea and a good cup of coffee.


Disciplines such as genetics and chemistry have a long history of discoveries that were initially overlooked and not appreciated for their transformative implications until decades later. These findings were often made by researchers working on the fringes of the mainstream scientific community who published in obscure journals, if at all. Through sheer luck their work formed the basis for larger discoveries. The cybersecurity community has many parallels. If you look at the titles of talks at serious academic conferences and DefCon there’s a surprising overlap of topics and methods, but the two worlds never meet. There is a prevalence of virtual and physical collaborations of cybersecurity experts performing research and deriving tangible, noteworthy results that are never published and is often not taken seriously enough to influence the timely design of security systems and software.  How can we create feedback loops between the academic community, cybersecurity operators and underground security researchers who may not even think of themselves as “researchers”? I’ll present some ideas about how three communities with different incentives, yet the same goals, can work together to shorten the time to discovery and overcome many of the obstacles that impeded progress in the sciences centuries earlier.