Snowden Media Douchebaggery

Recently the New York Times posted an article stating that while Edward Snowden was at the NSA, he learned to be a hacker by taking a CEH course and getting the certification.

But the certification, listed on a résumé that Mr. Snowden later prepared, would also have given him some of the skills he needed to rummage undetected through N.S.A. computer systems and gather the highly classified surveillance documents that he leaked last month, security experts say.

Mr. Snowden’s résumé, which has not been made public and was described by people who have seen it, provides a new picture of how his skills and responsibilities expanded while he worked as an intelligence contractor. Although federal officials offered only a vague description of him as a “systems administrator,” the résumé suggests that he had transformed himself into the kind of cybersecurity expert the N.S.A. is desperate to recruit, making his decision to release the documents even more embarrassing to the agency.

I’ll preface this rant* by saying I’m no fan of the ridiculous machinations of the NSA recently uncovered by other journalists. In fact, I wasn’t all that surprised by the government trying to figure out what kind of toilet paper I use, probably because I spend too much of my spare time reading Philip K. Dick and John le Carre. But I’m also a bit tired of the exaggeration and outright invention often generated by the media surrounding this story. So I emailed the following response to the author of the article:

CEH is in the DoD8570 matrix for government approved/required certifications along with CISSP, CISM and Security+. It’s a “checkbox” cert and the skills required to pass it are laughable. It certainly doesn’t make one an uber-hacker equivalent to a villain from some James Bond movie. Nor does it certify anyone as an “expert” any more than taking a martial arts class makes one Bruce Lee. Don’t know where you got your information, but congratulations, you are now the complete laughingstock of the information security community. Snowden’s personality is typical of the narcissistic douchery so prevalent in the IT community. He’s no more a super, cyber sleuth than my cat. Oh wait, my cat has figured out that she can keep me from working by sleeping on top of my keyboard. Cat 1, Snowden getting anal probes from the FSB 0.

P.S. I actually HAVE the CEH certification, but I don’t kid myself into thinking it makes me H.D. Moore or Johnny Long.

Judy gets the CISSP

* My sincere apologies to anyone with the CEH certification. This outburst isn’t a general commentary on anyone’s ability, but a reflection of my general antipathy towards security certifications and their misrepresentation by HR drones.

Mrs. Y
Mrs. Y is a recovering Unix engineer working in network security. Also the host of Healthy Paranoia and official nerd hunter. She likes long walks in hubsites, traveling to security conferences and spending time in the Bat Cave. Sincerely believes that every problem can be solved with a "for" loop. When not blogging or podcasting, can be found using up her 15 minutes in the Twittersphere or Google+ as @MrsYisWhy.
Mrs. Y
Mrs. Y
  • jason

    Mrs Y, you should never respond to this type of link bait. ( you have even included a link to the article). the article is witten for hits not for factual content. I hear the next article is about snowden buying a hackers keyboard which makes nice clicky clack noises and has macros for metasploit commands. sit back and watch the internet children scream for attention dont let them bother you.

  • Brent Salisbury

    Ahhh, wonderful post. Hopefully an editor or two from the legacy media houses will ask themselves if their tech journalist should shape the herds opinion of technologies impact on geo-political events. There are some amazing ones out there, and they avoid hype pieces like this.

    What a poser this kid is anyways. Get a job w/clearance, get spoon feed the info and act like a martyr hax0r playing politics. Have fun spending the rest of your life in a lovely non-extradition rats nest. Note to self, don’t piss off Mrs. Y :)

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