Cybersecurity researchers work hard to keep the digital world safe, but every once in a while their own physical security is at risk. Anyone who has been in this field long enough has stumbled upon stories of infosec professionals receiving threats or has experienced incidents themselves.
A security expert who wanted to remain anonymous to protect his family says that “several people focusing on cybercrime have received death threats” in the past few years, and some of them even decided to fly under the radar or move to do other things. They don’t want to put their loved ones at risk “because dad is a security researcher and attracts bad guys,” he says.
On infosec Twitter and at conferences, researchers share incidents and talk about ways of protecting themselves in these situations. They say calling the police or the FBI hardly helps. “I want to tell you to go contact federal law enforcement, I want to tell you to go contact a local police department, but from what I’ve seen, it does nothing,” says security expert Matt Smith of Citadel Lock Tools. “It can take months to get an arrest in for a single incident, let alone that person being at large for a rather long time.”