[ISN] Here’s what ‘Shmoocon 2016,’ the D.C. hackerfest, tells us about the cybersecurity industry

www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-business/wp/2016/01/28/heres-whats-changing-in-d-c-s-hacker-community/ By Aaron Gregg The Washington Post January 28, 2016 Walking around Shmoocon, a D.C. cybersecurity conference in its 12th year, one gets the impression that the hacker community is growing out of a bit of its outrageousness. “There’s a chaotic element to it that has really fallen off,” said Shmoocon founder Bruce Potter. “All the shenanigans you used to see; dumping Jello in the fountain in Vegas…you don’t even see it anywhere anymore.” To be sure, the cultural quirks are still there. Grown men still call each other by over-the-top hacker aliases. A man walks around wearing a chicken mask with a fluorescent-green box strapped to this back blaring electronic music. With the exception of a group of West Point cadets, everyone is wearing T-shirts. But the crowd’s absurdities make it easy to forget that these are some of the most sought-after professionals in business, government and war. Over the past few years costly and highly-public instances of data theft have driven huge corporations to give cybersecurity professionals C-suite representation for the first time. And there’s a massive dearth of trained cybersecurity professionals, even in the Washington area: a 2015 report from market research firm Burning Glass found almost 50,000 open positions for cybersecurity professionals across the country with an advertised average salary of $83,934. As a result, conferences like Shmoocon have become central nodes where corporate and government recruiters find cyber talent. Local economic development boosters are targeting cybersecurity as a growth sector for the region, hoping they can capitalize on the steady stream of specialized talent that spills out the region’s military and intelligence agencies. […]