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Re: IT's hottest job? Security expert
From: "Robert G. Ferrell" <root () rgfsparc cr usgs gov>
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 11:20:56 -0500 (CDT)

Indeed, some experts wonder if the dearth isn't one of the
reasons that hacks and intrusions are up some 50 percent from last
year alone.

Another reason might be that a large percentage of security "experts" 
in the industry have read a couple of books and got their jobs 
by wowing the HR people with terms like "granularity" and "IPSec," 
but in fact have little to no practical experience on the front lines. 
The term "expert" has become so diluted by constant misapplication that 
it means nothing.  An "expert" these days is absolutely anyone who gets 
their name in the same news story where computers are mentioned.

I'll give you an example of this phenomenon.  My current "active" 
ISN archive goes back to 23 April 1999.  A grep of that archive 
for the word "expert" returns 1,174 lines containing that term.  
Granted, some of these people probably do fit the traditional 
definition of "expert."  But I'd be willing to bet all five of 
the Wilderness AT tires on my truck that the majority of them don't. 

"Hacker" has lost its meaning.  "Expert" is rapidly degenerating.  
As someone pointed out to me recently, "Baud" suffered the same 
erosive fate a few years ago. 

Why do I care?  I think James Thurber put it very well:

        Ill fares the land, to galloping fears a-prey, 
        When gobbledygook accumulates, and words decay.

Defending the semantics of the English (oops, American) 
language is a tough and thankless job, but some fool has to do it.
'Are we not men? We are Devo.'

You may now leave the room, in single file.  No shoving.



Robert G. Ferrell, CISSP
 Who goeth without humor goeth unarmed.

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