Deb Radcliff: On the Cybercrime Beat

In 1995, I left general assignment newspaper reporting to research what would become a best-selling book about infamous hacker, Kevin Mitnick, while he was on the FBI's most wanted list. Within 12 hours of accepting that assignment, his punk hacker friends found my unlisted number with nothing more than my name and state and called incessantly in the middle of the night. Needless to say, my eyes were opened. I knew the Internet would pose a huge security problem for businesses and home users as they started to adopt home computers.

The dictionary definition of a hacker is someone who tests technology, pushes it past its limits to see where it breaks and then desires to fix it. I spent more than 15 years immersed in hacking communities like the Cult of the Dead Cow (CdC), the l0pht, the Ninja Strike Force (NFC), Digital DawgPound (DDP) and the 2600 club.

So Much Trickery

People are easy to trick in an environment where you can't really confirm who you are talking to or doing business with. Mitnick and his friends were proof of what you could do with a telephone and a dial up modem. Imagine Internet connections directly into the places we do business, and then into our homes, which of course is what followed and now we're overridden with cybercrime.

So, I became the first investigative journalist to make cybercrime a beat. My first article, Barbarians at the Firewall for Byte Magazine was so well-regarded that the new cyber field division of the FBI asked to use it for training materials. This was 1996.

Fast-forward to today. I've written hundreds of articles for dozens of print and online publications, spoken at West Point, developed and ran a well-respected cyber security analyst program for the SANS Institute, and now as an independent cyber security author and analyst, I've published my first book, Breaking Backbones, part 1 of the hacker trilogy.


Breaking Backbones Part 1: Information is Power

A hacker trilogy by Deb Radcliff — for sale online now. Order at Archway Publishing or at Amazon.

A hacker war 17 years in the making erupts after GlobeCom takes over the world through human chip implants.

Press about Breaking Backbones

My new press release

Media Coverage:
Yahoo! News - August 16, 2021
CBS 2 KTVN-TV - August 16, 2021

Learn more!


Cybercrime reporting was my beat for 25 + years. In this video, I explain how those experiences translated into my cyberthriller, Breaking Backbones: Information is Power (only 14 mins)

Latest Speaking:

Deb talks about penning a Cyber Thriller - ESW #240. Watch on YouTube
August 25, 2021

Deb interviews DevOps guru, Robert Seacord, about third party code and supply chain attacks.
July 7th, 2021

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Latest Articles:

Deb does a deep dive into the DNS tactics used in the Solarwinds SUNBURST attacks.
ExtraHop, May 1, 2021

Pioneering women in infosec.
CSO Online, March 30, 2021

Rules for securing data in the cloud.
CSO Online, March 15, 2021

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