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Dan Kaminsky’s Prediction for the Next Silicon Valley

“Eighty four percent of Americans want something to be done with hacking,” said Dan Kaminsky (@dakami), chief scientist at White Ops Security, in our conversation at the 2015 Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas.

That’s amazing to Kaminsky who claims you can’t get 84 percent of Americans to agree on anything.

“These security problems are not just mainstream, they’re part of everyday life for everybody,” added Kaminsky. “But there’s consensus like there’s almost never consensus about anything … I see that consensus as being able to drive real genuine change.”

I responded by saying that consensus may be the result of people being more frightened by the increasing number of breaches. Kaminsky argued that we’re just aware of a problem that had always been there. We just didn’t know about it.

“When I see that breaches are way up, you think it’s because breaches are way up. I think it’s because our detection and correction of them is finally starting to happen,” said Kaminksy. “[Because of this newfound visibility,] the era of hopefully permanent compromise is, I’d like to say, if not coming to an end, at least everybody’s realizing just how bad it is.”

Kaminsky went on to predict that the country that figures out how to host secure networks is going to host the next Silicon Valley. He bases his prediction on what has happened in the auto industry. The U.S. use to be the dominant player until Japan figured how to build cars better and that diminished U.S. dominance in auto manufacturing.

I argued that startups in Silicon Valley don’t build any security into their product. Kaminsky said that this can be remedied by building security tools for startups just like we’ve built tools for entrepreneurs to construct businesses.

“We want to go ahead and tell the world this is how you build societies, this is how you build business. You use technology in a way that advances the speed of information,” said Kaminsky. “If we want to be able to tell people to do this, it has to be able to survive the onslaught and it’s not right now.”