Graham Cluley interviewed by Tripwire’s David Bisson

Graham CluleyEarlier this week I had a Skype chat for an hour or so with David Bisson from Tripwire’s State of Security blog, where he asked me about how I came to join the computer security industry, my thoughts on how things have changed, and why I decided to become independent.

During the interview I describe my unusual introduction to the world of anti-virus via the computer games I used to write like Humbug and Jacaranda Jim. The games are freely available for download if you can find yourself a decent MS-DOS emulator.

Check out David’s write-up of the interview if you’re curious:

All this talk of the old days, and those happy times when I my shirts were unironed resulted in me digging out one of the earliest interviews I ever did.

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Here, for your pleasure, is an interview with me dating from way back in 1992 – when I had only been working as the chief programmer of Dr Solomon’s Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows for a few months.

The interview was with Syntax, a disk-based magazine about text adventure games. So there’s precious little about anti-virus in it, but a fair bit about the games I had been writing.

Humbug screenshot

Text adventures, ahh… those were the days…

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

4 comments on “Graham Cluley interviewed by Tripwire’s David Bisson”

  1. Anonymous

    >a packet of cheesy biscuits

    McVities Cheddars?

    1. Graham CluleyGraham Cluley · in reply to Anonymous

      Any other brand would be sacrilege.

  2. Coyote

    "Text adventures, ahh… those were the days…"

    Colossal Cave Adventure! Lovely game then and there are still several versions that work; I play it from time to time (under Unix systems which means these days primarily Linux distributions.. I Imagine there are DOS versions too).

    MUDs! Many exist still it is just that it fits a certain type of player (and developer.. me, for instance, on both accounts). But that is how it has always been: it does, after all, require a good imagination much like bookworms have (but extended to computers) and a heavy dose of time (usually, anyway). I would argue the same applies to Colossal Cave Adventure. While many would scoff at the very idea of text games (or even arcades, Atari 2600 and the earlier consoles), those who either played them then, or still play them (or both!), have fond memories and/or still are passionate about them. That is the best part: while there isn't a huge following compared to some games (especially MMOs even though MUDs are the predecessors to them; indeed they are likened to graphical MUD), those that follow it are dedicated to them, and it is the dedication to the extreme; they play and/or develop for the sake of it.

    Of course, I'll listen to the interviews but that will be later, after I do some other stuff (the book wraiths have been calling me for some time…).

  3. Coyote

    Some remarks on the interview:

    "There weren’t too many challenges after a while, which made me think, “If I don’t go now, I’m going to die here!” I didn’t want to stay there for another 14 years, so I left."

    Logically speaking, that would imply that you have ~12 years left to live… not that I think you meant it literally..or logically.

    "There are several instances where this has happened in the past, and across all of them, I have learned that people love it when you own up to your mistakes. They respect you for admitting that you were wrong and that you handled the situation with transparency."

    Cheers to this! There is a simple truth beyond others respecting you; if you can admit to your mistakes (or that you can improve something in some way) it means you can accomplish more and improve yourself (and potentially others). We all make mistakes but in the end the only true mistake is ignoring the learning/improvement opportunities of what might otherwise be mistakes alone.

    "For example, they argue that they can’t hope to stop terrorism unless they can see what people are doing online. Well guess what? You can’t stop terrorism even if you wanted to."

    Indeed. You can't stop an ideal and that is what it is. But then ideals, reactions, restrictions (that the governments are supposedly against if THEY do similar) from governments, these too all change things as well (on both ends, directly and indirectly). To think that you only need to do one thing and the problem will go away is incredibly naive. There is provocation on all sides and even if there wasn't, invasion of privacy won't change things for the better. It will change things for the worse, though.

    "There will always be those who try to use terror to reach their own ends. Of course, it’s horrific when innocent people get hurt or have their loved ones killed by terrorists, but it is still very very rare. If we give away our freedom, then the terrorists really will have won."

    I think it is fair to say that all of these points are valid for governments, too. Including in the west. Perhaps the difference is parts of it are more common (and maybe that some intent is different). In the end, taking privacy away from others won't make things better and the more people that have personal information of others, the higher the chance that it can be taken and used against innocents (that are supposedly being protected). If the government can't keep their own 'secrets' safe (including the information of their employees) why should they be trusted to keep citizens/any other person's information safe? The fact they will never 'have enough' information (in their view, which they've proven time and again) means that every person needs to be on guard more than before. Of course, that is good in a sense, but you shouldn't have to because of the spying on citizens.

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