How Should We Honor the Legacy of Dan Kaminsky?
Last week came the news that Dan Kaminsky, security researcher (and popular speaker at security conferences), had passed away at the age of 42. In a half hour the DEF CON security convention will hold a special online memorial for Dan Kaminsky on Discord.

But interestingly, Kaminsky was also one of ICANN’s “Trusted Community Representatives,” part of a small community involved in a ceremonial root key generation, backup and signing process. (Since 2010 Kaminsky was one of the seven “Recovery Key Share Holders” entrusted with a fragment of a cryptographic key and reporting in for its annual inventory.)

So who will take Dan’s place? Slashdot contacted ICANN’s vice president of IANA Services, Kim Davies. His response?
We maintain an open invitation for volunteers who believe they are qualified, and review those volunteers when a vacancy arises. The selection process is documented, but in essence means we try to maintain a balance of skills and geographic location so that in the aggregate the TCRs are diverse.

The selection is not in chronological order, and will not necessarily result in selecting someone who most matches Dan’s attributes. Ultimately the replacement will be a volunteer that the evaluation panel feels best contrasts and complements the attributes of the remaining TCRs.

Davies also shared this remembrance of Dan Kaminsky:
He played a critical role in the evolution of the DNS by bringing attention to the practical cache poisoning vulnerability he discovered. He was a greater collaborator who worked closely with us to rapidly address the issue in critical infrastructure, and then worked to promote technologies like DNSSEC that can mitigate it effectively in the long term. He really provided a significant catalyst that resulted in DNSSEC being put into widespread production in 2010.

His service as a Trusted Community Representative was just a part of his commitment to these issues, and while his work on the DNS is perhaps his most famous contribution, he has an amazing resume of accomplishments throughout his career.

Personally I found him a delight to work with and we are deeply mourning the loss.

Of course, there’s another way to follow in Dan’s footsteps. Long-time Slashdot reader destinyland writes:

Jeff Moss, founder of DEF CON and Black Hat, has proposed nominating Kaminsky for the Internet Hall of Fame, or even creating a Kaminsky award to honor “the core ideals” of the security researcher. But there’s another complementary direction to go in… Black Hat board member Matt Devost tweeted last weekend that, “No one that knew Dan Kaminsky well is talking about DNS today. They are talking about kindness, boundless energy and positivity, spontaneous adventures, and how hard he worked to lift others up. Want to emulate one of the greatest hackers of all time? Let that be your guide.”

And last week a self-described hacker named Dr. Russ even tweeted, “In an effort to honor Dan Kaminsky’s character and legacy, we should all make a random act of Kaminsky weekly. Make it a point to be kind and helpful to someone, friend or stranger. Legit helpful and kind, take it over the finish line. Be the persistent guide he was. Then do it again.”

I propose we call that “pulling a Kaminsky.”

Presumably in the way later generations in William Gibson’s Count Zero talked of “pulling a Wilson….”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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