The Cavalry was born in Las Vegas in the summer of 2013 during two cybersecurity conferences, DEFCON and BSides Las Vegas. Security veterans Josh Corman and Nick Percoco began a conversation at those conferences about how merging technologies had the ability to affect human life and public safety when applied to the Internet of things, cars, medical devices, and more. Until that point, security research was often seen as a threat to the general public or even criminalized. Josh, Nick, and other like-minded security professionals had a much different view.
They worried about the impact new technologies could have on people and the institutions we rely on. These technologies brought the promise (or threat) of transforming law enforcement and oversight capabilities without an equivalent discussion on what those changes would mean for our societal and constitutional values.
The rate at which technology is changing our world is faster than our ability to adapt to that change through our society, culture, and humanity. The adoption of computerization and digital connectivity is pervasive, yet we are still struggling with the issues these technologies bring. Large gaps have emerged in our shared understanding of social norms and contracts. We no longer need to ask whether technology is capable of doing something, but instead must ask whether it ought to be done at all.
The all-volunteer Cavalry was born from these concerns in fall 2013. Security professionals met at DerbyCon in Louisville, Kentucky, for a Hacker Constitutional Congress. Over two days, security professionals crowded into a room to learn about the message and to help define and shape our all-volunteer movement.
Since then, our members have advised members of Congress and state legislators. They’ve given countless speeches, provided expert guidance on security panels, and become fixtures at the world’s leading security conferences — including DerbyCon, ShmooCon, OWASP AppSec USA, BSides SF and RSA. In 2017, we launched Hackers on the Hill, a now annual event where security professionals go to Capitol Hill to provide guidance to lawmakers and staff. In 2020, nearly 70 hackers attended and spoke with representatives from 13 congressional offices.
Our new reality is that software-enabled, always-connected devices will have an impact on public safety and human life. Our interdependence on software and connectivity has grown faster than our ability to safeguard these technologies. No one else is rising to meet these challenges.