Get to Know TNS Instructor Craig Heffner


December 22, 2016

Get to Know TNS Instructor Craig Heffner

Craig Heffner knows what can go right and what can go wrong when hacking embedded firmware. He’s “been there” and “done that” for about 10 years.

His background as an offensive security analyst for the NSA furnishes war stories and success stories that he translates into real-world, hands-on lessons for Tactical Network Solutions’ (TNS) students. But, of course, in the retelling, real names have been changed to protect the innocent (and the not-so-innocent)!

Craig teaches the IoT Firmware Exploitation and Exploiting Real Time Operating Systems classes, assisting students in building their skills and knowledge in practical ways. Participants engage in short, interactive lectures and apply white hat hacking techniques on actual in-market routers and other devices.

He develops his classes by drawing from his "lessons learned” and a desire to impart applicable information to his students. This keeps the classes grounded, the students active and creates an environment for all to share their questions and knowledge.

“I want students to avoid learning things the hard way – the way I did,” Craig notes. “Or, at least, I want them to be better prepared after the training to face those inevitable challenges in their work," he adds.

Looking ahead, Craig sees manufacturers' and vendors' growing awareness of potential security holes in their products and an expanding need for better cybersecurity practices when developing embedded firmware. As the market evolves, Craig and TNS will continue to develop classes to meet the training needs of companies, individuals and organizations.