Bio: Grant Ongers
When asked if he’s white or black hat, Grant prefers to think of himself as an old(er) hat. With 25+ years of professional experience breaking, making, fixing and defending “all the things” he has had the opportunity to step into various roles and lead offensive, defensive, operational, and development teams.
He has an established track record of leadership as evidenced by his developing and leading new teams. A large portion of his career has been spent leading strong software development teams, ensuring that the software was both fit for purpose and fit for use. Teaching and training has always been something that comes naturally to Grant. Sharing knowledge is one of Grant’s core beliefs, which is why he actively pursues opportunities to learn as well as mentor others.
Grant possess an extensive background in process design, execution and implementation. Grant is a qualified ITIL Expert and incorporates the Theory of Constraints thinking process along with the Security by Design Principals to everything he does. He is also a certified and still active CISSP holder. He prides himself in his strong code writing skills, with a unique leadership style which enables him to wrangle coders into the context of securing information in the three most vulnerable areas in an organisation: people, processes and technology. He understands that business drives requirements and that security is only as good as those who practise it. This allows him to find the balance between going fast for business purposes) and slowing down (to ensure things are done in a safe and sustainable way).
In the pursuit of finding a better way to incorporate threat modelling to agile development practices, and leveraging his strengths in security architecture, Grant has recently revisited the OWASP Cornucopia project and card deck. Using Cornucopia as a learning tool, he has spent a year working with development teams around the world making learning about a security accessible and fun without it being expensive and time consuming. He has developed a training program which is in the process of being formalised and will hopefully be added back to the project. This program aids in the development of individual developers in helping them to incorporate threat modelling as part of user story creation. Grant has already rolled out multiple table top exercises using this program with great success.
Grant’s innate curiosity and ability to learn quickly has seen him develop a very balanced IT skill set with a focus on security. He has a keen understanding of both red and blue team skills, which allows him to offer diverse perspectives on attacking and defending. He has experience in networking, infrastructure and public cloud. Grant is currently finalising his dissertation in Master of Computer Science at Rhodes University. His area of specialisation is in securing the development environment and moving security to the forefront of code development in its infancy.
Grant is passionate about giving to worthy causes. He supports Movember by raising money towards cancer research. He achieves this by traumatising those around him by sacrificing his sacred beard towards the greater good. In 2016 he was one of the highest donors to the Movember movement in South Africa - without a corporate sponsor.
His involvement in the security community extends to his enthusiastic involvement in the BSides community working in Las Vegas as staff. He also has been a DEF CON Goon for 9 Years working behind the scenes (and cameras) to contribute to the success of the event. Grant was also one of the founders of DEF CON Cape Town group (DC2721). He was also the co-host for 0xC0FFEE Cape Town. From 20014- 2017, Grant was the official Kitten Herder (Chairperson) of BSides Cape Town which is now (thanks in part to Grant’s actions in growing it) one of South Africa’s largest Security Conferences. In 2018, Grant relocated to London, where he wasted no time in helping to establish 0xC0FFEE London which has monthly meetups, mirroring the 0xC0FFEE setup that he co-hosted in Cape Town. Grant has also recently started volunteering at BSides London and BSides Cymru, helping to co-ordinate speakers.