CypherCon 2023

What I learned about hacking and security from working at Hollywood Video

Ben Schmerler


During this presentation, Ben will revisit his time as a teenager in the late 1990s working at Hollywood Video and how this experience inspired many lessons about hacking and cybersecurity.  It may not surprise you to know that stealing and loss was a regular occurrence at a video rental store, but in this presentation Ben will outline how and why these things happened, as well as relate these experiences to practical cybersecurity management lessons

Importance: While it may sound funny to think about minimum wage kids working at a video store, the issues we had with loss of product and money was due to a lack of security management across the board, and these issues can be related to things we see in corporate environments during our penetration tests and security assessments all the time.  There is a clean analogy to be made between the basic lack of effective controls at Hollywood Video and many of the weak controls that exist in businesses all across the world.

Ben Schmerler

All the cool kids worked at Hollywood Video

Ben Schmerler is the Senior Solutions Consultant for Independent Security Evaluators.  He has been in IT and Cybersecurity his entire professional career, but his current focus is on helping clients identify needs and approach for Application Security Testing, Penetration Testing, IoT Device Security Assessments and other Cybersecurity Consulting Services.  He has a passion for solving problems and improving the security posture for organizations of all types.