Q&A: Geoff White

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Geoff White loves what he does. He started out working in tech for Channel 4 News but landed at a cybersecurity conference and thought, “this is where it’s at.” At the risk of being cringe-worthy, he describes investigative journalism as his “dream job.” He tells important stories, tracks down people who don’t want to be found and gets joy out of “keeping the rich and powerful on their toes."... 

Most impressive thing you’ve done?

Identifying the two crooks who ripped off a whole bunch of pensioners during the TalkTalk hack back in 2015. I found them on Facebook, messaged them and their profiles disappeared shortly after!

Tell me about a time you screwed up 

I spent months researching where the WannaCry money went. Finally, I thought I’d found the answer: a bloke living in Croydon. We went to confront him with a camera; it turns out it was totally the wrong guy. Apologies all around. Horrific!

Advice for industry n00bies? 

Work on communication skills. As people increasingly work remotely, your ability as an infosec professional to control their behavior via equipment and networks diminishes. Instead, it’s all about changing behavior, and that takes communication. Getting the message over is key.

You’re working on a dream investigation. Who are your dream team?

I’d want the folks from Intel471 to do the OSINT, the folks from Maltego to build the graphs and make connections and Sayari to flesh out the corporate structures. If we’re going to confront the culprits, I’d want one of the best Channel 4 News camera people.

What does the future hold?

I’d still love to do an in-depth podcast series about ransomware: its history, the twists and turns of the industry and where it’s going next. I’ve even got the title: ‘You’ve Got Blackmail’ (now it’s in print, so no one can steal it).

Quick-fire Q&A:

  • Who do you admire? I’ve got a grudging admiration for the creativity, tenacity and ingenuity of criminal hackers – and a profound respect for those who tackle it.

  • Biggest regret? Not getting onto the cybercrime beat earlier.

  • Most important lesson learned? Senior people don’t always know best.

  • One thing you would change about cybersecurity?  More female event speakers. 

  • Surprise us? I used to be a semi-professional balloon modeler.

  • Guilty secret? See above.

Geoff White will be speaking on the keynote stage at Infosecurity Europe on Wednesday June 22 at 15:20.  Register at: www.infosecurityeurope.com

Bio:  Geoff White is an author and investigative journalist. His work has been published by BBC News, Sky News and The Sunday Times. His new book, The Lazarus Heist – From Hollywood to High Finance: Inside North Korea’s Global Cyber War will be published in June 2022. 

Follow Geoff: @geoffwhite247

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