Apple Taps Noted Hacker for Security Team

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Apple has tapped a a noted hacker for its security team. Wired reported that the company has hired Kristin Paget, who was part of a small team of hackers who helped lock down Windows Vista for Microsoft before that OS shipped.

Kristin Paget

Kristin Paget's Twitter Photo

Hackers and security researchers have begun leaving the confines of the hacker world as large companies like Apple, Microsoft, and others have been looking to their expertise to find and fix problems in their software.

“We prevented a lot of bugs from shipping on Vista,” Ms. Paget said in an interview about her work on Vista after an NDA expired in 2011. “I’m proud of the number of bugs we found and helped get fixed.”

The group's work was part of the delay of Vista, and after it shipped, they were given T-Shirts signed by then-Microsoft Vice President of Windows Development Brian Valentine. The shirts read "I delayed Windows Vista," a fantastic example of the company's focus on the schedule, rather than the product, but that's a story for another day.

Apple has historically had a contentious relationship with the hacker community, but that seems to be changing. Apple gave JailBreakMe developer Comex an internship in August of 2011, though he lost that gig in October of 2012.

Apple also spoke at 2012's Black Hat security conference in July of 2012, a first for the company and a major sign of the company's changing attitudes about security. Apple’s head of software platform security, Dallas De Atley, told the audience at his presentation that Apple was "really excited" to be at the conference, though he didn't answer questions, as is customary, afterwards.

Ms. Paget confirmed for Wired that she is now working at Apple, but obviously isn't talking specifics.

When she worked for Microsoft, Ms. Paget was Chris Paget—she changed gender in 2011. We mention that for folks interested in learning more about her and her earlier work.

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This is fantastic news. Ms. Paget's bona fides are exemplary, but more importantly, her hiring shows us that Apple continues to be serious about security. The hacker community, particularly independent secuirty researchers, do important work, and a great relationship with that community is good for Apple and better for us, Apple's customers.

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“We prevented a lot of bugs from shipping on Vista,”

They let quite a few through too, so I’m not sure I’d be beating that particular drum, if I were Ms. Paget.

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