Deb Radcliff

About Deb Radcliff

Cybercrime Reporter, Editor, Analyst and Screenplay Author

Deb Radcliff became immersed in the hacking community during the mid 1990's while investigating the life and friends of infamous hacker (not turned security professional) Kevin Mitnick while he was on the run from the FBI. That research showed up in a best-selling book by Jon Littman called The Fugitive Game. (She was working under her married name, Deborah Kerr at the time.)

Since then, Radcliff became one of the first investigative reporters to make cybercrime her beat. When her article, Barbarians at the Firewall, published in Byte Magazine in 1996, a special agent in charge from the FBI's new San Francisco cyber field office asked permission to use it for training new cyber agents. She used to run a hack of the month column for Computerworld when cybercrime was just beginning to take off, working with white and gray hat hackers as her sources and as authors for the column.

Radcliff has won several awards for her investigative reporting, most notably two Jesse H. Neal Awards, one for best individual feature, Class B sized magazine for cover story, “Hackers, Terrorists and Spies” (Software Magazine, 1998) and for group reporting, best news story, Computerworld, “Wireless LANs: Trouble in the Air,” 2003, by the American Business Press. She's also won awards by the ASBPE and other outlets.

She is now creative director over the SANS Analyst Program, a cyber security content program she built for SANS, under which SANS trainers develop security and privacy-related content that is sponsored by security solution providers. In addition to steering content direction and creating new projects, she also blogs for the SANS Security Insights blog.

Radcliff has recently created a new cyber thriller screenplay, Breaking Backbones, as part of a hacker trilogy TV or streaming series. Many of the fictional characters are based on real people she's worked with in the hacker, law enforcement, and military communities. She is currently searching for producers for that series.

Her work has been translated into many different languages, cited in research and law journals, and used verbatim in college textbooks. As a speaker, she’s addressed audiences on business radio stations in Vancouver and Los Angeles, as well as at West Point, H.O.P.E. (Hackers on Planet Earth) and elsewhere.

Radcliff holds a bachelor’s in journalism from San Jose State University, where she graduated with the honor of "great distinction," was editor-in-chief of the San Jose City College newspaper, and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.


Awards and Recognition

Neal Award Winner – Deb Radcliff

  • NEAL Award First Place for individual investigative reporting, “Hackers, Terrorists and Spies” (Software Magazine, 1998), Class B size magazine.
  • NEAL Award First Place for group investigative reporting, best news story, “Wireless LANs: Trouble in the Air,” (Computerworld 2003).
  • American Society of Business Press Editors First place for investigative reporting, "Hackers, Terrorists and Spies," (Software Magazine, 2008).
  • 2nd place, best news story, Journalism Association of Community Colleges, 1986
  • Recipient of top journalism scholarship in state of California, 1987
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