by Stephen Cobb on October 27, 2019


Stephen Cobb, TEDx San Diego, 2015

I’m Stephen Cobb and this is my general purpose blog. My professional work, on things like cybersecurity and data privacy, can be found via scobb.net. I tweet about those topics and life in general at @zcobb. I sometimes publish on Medium, SlideShare, and ResearchGate. In 2019, I was recognized as an award-winning technologist and I’ve been a CISSP since 1996. My master of science in security and risk management was earned at the University of Leicester (Criminology Department). In 2019, I moved from San Diego to Coventry in England, which is where I was born and grew up.

From 2011 to mid-2019 I was Senior Security Researcher at ESET, Europe’s biggest security software company, where I helped create the award-winning security blog, We Live Security. These days I do my own research on my own time, working at the nexus of technology, ethics, gender, crime, privacy, and public policy. In my “spare time” I try to raise awareness of iron overload, the potentially deadly genetic condition, caused by Celtic Curse, also known as hereditary hemochromatosis. It’s what disabled my partner of 30+ years, Chey Cobb. I also try to speak up for equality and diversity. #HeForShe

Brexit: 11 p.m. GMT on 31 January 2020


I have always thought that joining the ECC/EU was good for the UK. I have always thought that leaving the ECC/EU would be bad for the UK. I am not happy that Brexit is happening. Period. Full stop. No, seriously, that is the whole article. Nothing more to read. Too sad and angry to write […]

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What Am I Thankful For? A diagnosis of congenital amusia


In November of 2008 I wrote: “we’ve arrived at the time of the year when it’s traditional to speak of things for which we’re thankful, I figured I would put it like this: I am thankful for a diagnosis, even though that diagnosis is hemochromatosis.” Now I’m back with thanks for another diagnosis, one that […]

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It’s official! I’m making some big changes

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I have retired from my job at ESET and we’re moving to England! While I tried to provide an early warning of this news to as many friends and family as possible, things have been a bit hectic, so it’s possible that I missed you – if so, my apologies. This blog is  one way […]

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High blood pressure cure? For some, this treatment’s not a conn

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TLDR: I used to have HBP. Now I don’t. If you have high BP and low potassium, check out Conn’s syndrome. If you have Conn’s, an operation can fix it. I had the op in 2013 when my BP was 150/100 while on BP meds. At the end of 2013 it was 120/70 w/out meds, […]

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What’s this #HeForShe thing?

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Technically speaking, #HeForShe is a hashtag, a social media tool defined as: “a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic (Wikipedia). About two years ago I started adding the #HeForShe hashtag to things like the “Welcome to CobbsBlog” page and my Twitter profiles (@zcobb […]

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Will “repeal and replace” hurt genomic medicine and victims of genetic conditions?

Thumbnail image for Will “repeal and replace” hurt genomic medicine and victims of genetic conditions?

Let me give you the short version of my answer up front: Yes. If the current privacy protection for genetic medicine in the US, in which Obamacare/ACA has played a key role, is diminished by the “repeal and replace” efforts of the current US administration, then America’s hopes for genomic medicine will also be diminished. Victims of some […]

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There was no valedictorian and other observations on the way to my graduation

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Last month I graduated from the Criminology Department of the University of Leicester with a Master of Science degree in Security and Risk Management (MSc SRM). I graduated in person, in England, with my own two-person cheering section (mum: Dorothy; partner: Chey). The trip to get there was a long one, and I don’t just mean […]

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Life after the University of Leicester, pronounced Lester, plus academic bang for bucks

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(In which the author gets back to his blog after a virtual expedition to a place called Leicester…) I was going to start this blog post with something like: “As regular readers may have noticed…” But frankly, I doubt there are many regular readers left out there, mainly because I’ve not been blogging on this […]

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50 Shades of White Privilege: #1 Birth and #2 Education

[Update: I originally published this post in October of 2014 when public discussion of “White Privilege” surfaced in mainstream media and it became clear to me that some white people did not understand the concept. I am republishing this article now because of a tweet about Black Lives Matter that I sent out earlier in […]

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Talking cybersecurity futures at TEDx San Diego

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What can we do to ensure a better future for technology? A future with less cybercrime and more trust in digital technology? I addressed these questions in a TEDx talk in San Diego, titled: Ones and Zeroes: A Tale of Two Futures. I drew on my studies in the Criminology Department at the University of […]

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The ethics of faking it until you make it

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The advice to “fake it until you make it” has popped up several times recently in my online meanderings, raising some interesting questions. I want to ponder them for a moment and present a couple of illustrations, one a video and another a story. I started to think about this when I did some research […]

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How to fix your Google Chrome bookmarks if you can’t stand the new “enhanced design”

Has Google messed up your Chrome bookmarks with its “new, improved” bookmark system? Don’t panic! You can fix it and go back to the way things were, where your bookmarks are organized the way YOU want. The obscure but simple fix is described below (this works as of April 27, 2015). If you want to […]

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Taxes, Lady Godiva, Coventry, privacy, and the first Peeping Tom

Naked Woman on Horseback might sound like a porn video but it’s also a timely topic for the month of April, the month when taxes are front of mind for many Americans: personal income taxes for the previous calendar year must be paid on or before the 15th of the month. For me, the topic of […]

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Complacency is the curse of comfort

A writer once wrote: Complacency is the curse of comfort. I think what he means is that a comfortable life can lead us to become complacent about the world’s problems, which can then turn up on our doorstep to discomfit us. Actually, I know that is what the writer meant, because I am that writer. […]

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Of Spiders and Sin

What follows is the definitive telling of my story about the Australian redback spider and its pedagogical employment in a theological context. This is a tale I have told many times in the company of friends but it has never been recorded for posterity, until now. I have included some notes below the story that […]

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Fighting malware, cybercrime, and hemochromatosis = I’ve been busy

I enjoy reading a wide range of blogs. Recently, I was shocked to visit one of my own blogs — this one — and see that I had not posted anything since February. Surely I had written more than that? In fact, I have been doing a lot of writing, but on other blogs. So […]

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