a16z Podcast: How Hacks Happen


It seems like we hear about corporate (not to mention consumer) hacks in the news every week. Is this something new, or just a continuation of old patterns and we just happen to be hearing about it more now? In this segment of the a16z Podcast, longtime security investigative reporter Kim Zetter of Wired — who also wrote Countdown to Zero Day, the definitive account of Stuxnet, the first digital virus that wrought physical destruction (on a nuclear facility) — breaks down how hacks happen.

What’s old (like phishing), what’s new (like spear-phishing and ransomware)? How are players around the world — whether for government or economic espionage — becoming ever more sophisticated, coordinated, and organized? And what can companies do? Zetter shares her observations on how security models have changed — for example, from defensive to offensive — to how she susses out the truth when different players communicate about or claim hacks. (Which is one of the reasons that Zetter questions North Korea’s role in the Sony hack…)