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From APIs and Automobiles: Hacker-Turned-Producer Alissa V. Knight

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Interview with Alissa Valentina Knight, an American author, film director and producer, whose cinematography is influenced by her early days as an infamous computer hacker who was arrested at age 17, then recruited to work for the intelligence community. At the behest of the FBI, she was allowed to test the security of connected vehicles across many of intelligence agencies, which led to her resulting book, “Hacking Connected Cars” published by Wiley in 2019. She also has another book in the works about hacking API’s, which she determined years ago were not being developed securely or monitored well enough by existing security tools.

She is co-founder of the commercial production house Knight Studios, part of the Knight Group, which she co-owns with her wife Melissa Knight, a producer and CISO. The pair recently released a membership portal to access their productions, Knight TV. One of their films, #Ransom, co-produced by Conceal, won Best New TV/Web Series at Cannes World Film Festival – Remember the Future. Their content has also been honored as finalists and semi-finalists in other Indie and Cannes festivals.

As proof that Alissa is ahead of the trends, a recent article in The Hacker News cited that automobile APIs are easily hackable to gain administrative rights to control over 15 million cars, with almost all brands being affected.

In this video interview, Alissa shares how she fell into hacking, started some cybersecurity companies, and then began producing content around cybersecurity that is as entertaining as it is educational. We also discuss the most common bugs in connected cars and API’s that make them easy to hack, along with advice for software producers to shift left in their development cycles.

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