January 10, 2023

Solving Fundamental Cybersecurity Problems with Maxime Lamothe-Brassard

by Hacker Valley Studio

Show Notes

Maxime “Max” Lamothe-Brassard, Founder of LimaCharlie, brings a tech-focused community perspective and a history of working at Google to the Hacker Valley security podcast this week. Inspired by the internal motivation to empower others and build what didn’t exist, Maxime created LimaCharlie to help security teams automate and manage security operations. In this episode, Max walks through his founder’s journey and points out the problems that are begging for innovative solutions from the brightest minds in cyber.

 

Timecoded Guide:

[01:59] Improving community & empowering practitioners

[06:04] Leaving Google for LimaCharlie

[10:55] Unpacking the incentivization problem of cyber 

[16:21] Targeted products vs massive suites of problem solvers

[21:29] Looking at a red team-less future

 

Sponsor Links:

Thank you to our sponsors Axonius and NetSPI for bringing this episode to life!

The Axonius solution correlates asset data from existing solutions to provide an always up-to-date inventory, uncover gaps, and automate action — giving IT and security teams the confidence to control complexity. Learn more at axonius.com/hackervalley

For more than 2 decades, NetSPI has helped companies discover and remediate critical security issues through its platform-driven, human-delivered security test. NetSPI is much more than a pentesting company, bringing you the most comprehensive suite of offensive security solutions. Visit netspi.com/HVM to learn more.

 

Where would you say your passion for improving our community comes from? 

From the moment Max opens his mouth to talk about cybersecurity, his passion for the global community of cyber practitioners is clear. It turns out, the community is Max’s passion because he’s been in so many cybersecurity roles and has experienced so many of the same issues in each position. Suffering pain and fatigue no matter the role shouldn’t be the reality for today’s practitioners, and Max wants to empower them to do their best, most enjoyable work. 

“When I started, the goal wasn't to make the silver bullet that somehow was going to automatically save everybody, but really to just help people that were working and doing their jobs and empower them.” 

 

How was your experience going from Google to having your own thing with LimaCharlie? 

Taking the red pill of entrepreneurship wasn’t as scary of an experience for Max as one might think. Instead, the product idea behind LimaCharlie existed for years before Max left Google, and everything Max has done in his career prepared him to take that risky step into doing his own thing. When push came to shove, Max was comfortable taking the risk because he knew he would always have opportunities to support the industry, even if he failed.

“Really, throughout my whole career, without necessarily knowing at the time, [creating LimaCharlie] was where I was heading. Looking back, I've always been trying to build the thing that didn't exist where I was and push those limits.” 

 

What are there problems in the community or in the industry that you don't see anyone solving yet? 

A major opportunity for growth and improvement in cybersecurity is incentivization, according to Max. The debate of what’s worth fixing and who should decide on prioritizing vulnerabilities leads to tension and confusion among practitioners. The key to this problem might just be finding that special someone to somehow access the information with the right types of models and protocols around risk evaluation. Insurance might be the easiest answer, but Max wants practitioners to explore their potential to solve these problems, too. 

“The problem is that, as an industry, for us to make a risk-reward call on security vulnerabilities— it’s incredibly difficult for us that are in security every day. Fundamentally, we can't even make that call ourselves.”

 

What is one topic of division in cyber that you wish we could all come together on? 

Division is inevitable in a field that grows as fast as cybersecurity. However, if Max could dream big about a major division to solve himself, it would be that of a red team’s purpose. In an ideal security world, people don’t need the red team to buy them into cybersecurity. Max hopes that, over time, the industry shifts more towards the blue team, where vulnerabilities are understood as important and worth protecting against without red team demonstrations. 

“I hope that, over time, we're able to move away from having to drive this idea that these things are real and they're important because people are already bought into this idea that, yes, we need to defend everything.”

---------------

Links:

Keep up with our guest Maxime Lamothe-Brassard on LinkedIn

Learn more about LimaCharlie on LinkedIn and the LimaCharlie website

Connect with Ron Eddings on LinkedIn and Twitter

Connect with Chris Cochran on LinkedIn and Twitter

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Continue the conversation by joining our Discord

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