February 27, 2024
Learning the lessons from cybersecurity trash fires at TC Disrupt 2023


We’ve all seen headlines about major hacks and data breaches of major companies — it can feel like nobody’s safe. Security is a constant learning curve, and what we learn when things go wrong can help defend against similar threats and would-be incidents in the future.

That’s why we’re excited to welcome three of the sharpest security experts — Lesley Carhart, director of incident response, Dragos; Sherrod DeGrippo, director of threat intelligence strategy, Microsoft; and Rachel Tobac, friendly hacker and CEO, SocialProof Security — to the Security Stage on September 21 at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023.

In a session called “What We Can Learn from Cybersecurity Trash Fires,” our panel will talk about the lessons we can take from some of the cybersecurity horror stories — or “trash fires” — they’ve seen in their careers.

In this judgment-free space, we’ll discuss how security incidents can be prevented by learning and heeding the lessons from yesteryear. You’ll hear hand-picked examples of cybersecurity trash fires from the top professionals in their fields, and you’ll take away actionable advice and relatable guidance on both what — and what not — to do.

Come to learn how to make the world less hackable, and leave with the tools and knowledge to take on the challenges as the next generation of security leaders.

Learn more about our speakers — and their qualifications for tackling this challenging topic — below.

Lesley Carhart: Dragos, director of incident response for North America

Lesley Carhart leads response to, and proactively hunts for, threats in customers’ industrial control system (ICS) environments. After four years as a principal incident responder at Dragos, Lesley now manages a team of incident response and digital forensics professionals across North America. Carhart investigates commodity, targeted and insider threat cases in industrial networks. Carhart is also a certified instructor and curriculum developer for Dragos’ incident-response and threat-hunting courses.

Prior to joining Dragos, Carhart was the incident response team lead at Motorola Solutions. Lesley is honored to be retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserves and to have received recognition such as DEF CON Hacker of the Year, SANS Difference Maker, and Power Player from SC Magazine.

Carhart also organizes résumé and interview clinics at several cybersecurity conferences, and they lecture, blog and tweet prolifically about cybersecurity. When not working, Carhart enjoys being a youth martial arts instructor.

Sherrod DeGrippo: Microsoft, director of threat intelligence strategy

Sherrod DeGrippo was selected as Cybersecurity Woman of the Year in 2022 and Cybersecurity PR Spokesperson of the year for 2021. Prior to joining Microsoft, she was VP of threat research and detection at Proofpoint, where she led a global team of threat researchers, malware reverse engineers and threat intelligence analysts.

DeGrippo’s career in cybersecurity spans 19 years with prior roles that include leading the security business services team at Nexum, senior solutions engineer for Symantec, senior security consultant for Secureworks and senior network security analyst for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

A frequently cited threat intelligence expert, DeGrippo’s media experience includes televised appearances on BBC News and commentary in the Wall Street Journal, CNN, The New York Times and more. She is a well-known public speaker having presented at Black Hat, RSA Conference,  Rocky Mountain Information Security Conference (RMISC), Sleuthcon and others. In her personal time, she co-hosts the cultural lifestyle podcast Bit Obscene and spends time with her rescue dog, Boris Karloff.

Rachel Tobac: SocialProof Security, friendly hacker and CEO

Rachel Tobac helps people and companies keep their data safe by training and pen testing them on social engineering risks. She was also second-place winner of Def Con’s wild spectator sport, the Social Engineering Capture the Flag contest, three years in a row.

Tobac has shared her real-life social engineering stories with NPR, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The New York Times, CNN, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt and many more. In her remaining spare time, she sits on the CISA Technical Advisory Committee and is the chair of the board for the nonprofit Women in Security and Privacy (WISP), where she works to advance women to lead in the fields.


TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 takes place on September 19–21 in San Francisco. Tickets will sell out. Buy your pass now and save $400 before prices go up at the door. For a limited time, when you book your Disrupt hotel room at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown SOMA, you’ll automatically be eligible to enter a raffle for a chance to win two spots for you and a guest to attend the exclusive TechCrunch Disrupt Speakers & Editors Dinner. Book your room today. More hotel raffle details here.

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