Pascal Cuoq - 16th Jan 2012

This blog is not intended to be about computer gaming, even partially. In fact, the post I am about to link to comes from a feed I was subscribed to by accident when I changed news readers. I haven't bothered to fix this yet.

The post starts with this quote:

In many ways the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talents new creations. The new needs friends.

I too remember the first time I heard those words in the theater during an afternoon showing of Ratatouille. I thought more than one person might take them to heart.

The words personally remind me of a similar dichotomy between builders and breakers in the security-oriented aspects of computing. Builders make things and make things available. Breakers make things unavailable. It's a little bit more symmetrical than the creator/critic dichotomy because constructing a concrete security attack takes skill skill that the building camp may dismiss with as much ease as the breaking camp dismisses building skills. For breakers it's a mindset. Most builders just don't see the point at all but they make things so who are you to argue?

I am a builder. I work on tools that are intended to solve safety issues. Even if/when these tools are applied to security problems they are more useful for defense than for attack. This is visible in the assumptions they require. Often I wonder what it's like on the other side but I am not sure you can experience both in the same lifetime.

Pascal Cuoq
16th Jan 2012