A Conversation With Adam Laurie
Adam Laurie is Chief Security Officer and a Director of The Bunker Secure Hosting Ltd. Adam has always been interested in computers. His profile include working as a computer programmer on PDP-8 and other mini computers, various Unix, Dos and CP/M based micro computers as they emerged in the eighties. Adam Laurie gave the world first CD ripper ever, ‘CDGRAB’. As the internet evolved, Adam and (his brother) Ben became interested in open source projects, and they come up with ‘Apache-SSL’-which went on to become the de-facto standard secure web server. Since then Adam is actively involved in busting several myths about wireless technologies, Infrared devices and bluetooth protocols. Lately, Adam unveiled his latest research about RFID’s and different threats to privacy. Adam also released a python library “RFIDIOt” for accessing and reading RFID devices. Adam and Ben also pioneered the concept of re-using military data centers (housed in underground nuclear bunkers) as secure hosting facilities. Adam has been a senior member of staff at DEFCON since 1997, and also acted as a member of staff during the early years of the Black Hat Briefings.
Omer: Adam, please introduce yourself.
Adam: Well, I started off with computers in early eighties, when my father was the editor of a computer magazine in UK. So before the computers and the windows that we see today, he used to bring along micro computers, which seems to be pretty interesting for kids what are bollinger bands . I and my brother used to play with these machines and then my father brought them back to magazine. So we almost witnessed the whole evolution of the computers.
Omer: Since how long have you been associated with events like Black Hat and DefCon?
Adam: The first DefCon that I attended was DefCon IV. Then I attended the DefCon V again and became a “goon” there and there has been no stopping ever since. So, it is almost over 10 years now. When Black Hat first started off, a lot of goons working for DefCon also worked for Black Hat, but it was only for a couple of years. As soon as it became a public commercial event, they hired staff for the work that goons used to do.
Omer: You wrote the first CD ripper, how do you feel about it? RIAA and other recording associations and must be a great fan of yours?
Adam: (Laughs) the problem is that when I wrote the first CD ripper “CDGRAB”, the hard disk was so expensive and it used to fill all the hard disk space. So commercially it was really a stupid thing to do, because it would just fill up the entire hard disk and that would cost you 30 times more then a CD. So when I wrote the tool there was no commercial use of it, until years later when someone came up with compression standards and hard disk space got cheaper.