In the often unfathomable business of cyberhacking, a single string of code can present as an open gateway or a closed door.
Discovering the difference is one of the reasons why more than 2600 people - with hoodies optional - turned up to the National Convention Centre in Canberra in early April for Bsides, the country's largest cyber security convention.
Outside the hacker community, the national event - in which the keynote speaker was the head of ASIO, Mike Burgess and around 1000 people frenetically tapped keyboards in a binary version of "capture the flag" - passed unrecorded and unremarked.
But for Silvio Cesare and Kylie McDevitt, the self-confessed Canberra nerds who made it happen, it was just one of many business successes their low profile ACT company, Infosect, has enjoyed since the pair joined forces to run hacker community events in 2011.
By 2024, Australians are expected to spend $7.6 billion on cyber security. And it appears that in the hacking business, there are many quiet achievers in this country who have exported their expertise into the broader tech world.
It was only recently revealed that it was an Australian-developed software tool from a company called Azimuth, under the direction of cybergenius Mark Dowd, which allowed the FBI to hack the standard iPhone encryption protecting that of a homegrown US jihadist.
There were 14 innocent people at a Christmas party shot and killed in the 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernadino, California.
Apple refused to unlock the encryption on the phone - a critical piece of evidence - and despite its enormous technical resources, the FBI had drawn a blank on the same task.
Until the little-known Australian company stepped in as one of the FBI's "trusted vendors".
"Actually, it wasn't that much of surprise to us that Mark [Dowd] could unlock the phone; he is considered something of a rock star in the cyberhacking community," Kylie McDevitt said proudly.
That same community, with its arcane language of kernel-modes, mitigation bypasses and Swagger files, may be a mystery to most but its influence permeates the lives of anyone connected to the internet of everything.
"Anything that is online - either wired or wirelessly connected to the internet - is a potential gateway," Dr Silvio Cesare said.
"Devices are not as secure as what you think."
Based out of a small Fyshwick office, Infosect has quietly been performing multiple roles, supporting and connecting the cyber community, upskilling the high-end operators and running its own commercial enterprises.
One of its latest commercial wins was securing a $300,000 grant to contribute to the Defence department's so-called "innovation agenda".
"Basically it's an 18-month project to develop a automated software tool which searches out vulnerabilities in coding before the bad guys can find the same doorway and exploit it," Dr Cesare said.
"I'll be the chief investigator for the project but there will be a team of people working on it; they [Defence] will directly benefit from the research but we will retain the intellectual property."
The company's founders carry a unique set of skills. Ms McDevitt was with Canberra's hush-hush Australian Signals Directorate working on emerging technologies and Dr Cesare had a long background in code-writing, research and software development when they met at a cyber convention 11 years ago and the seeds were first planted to create Infosect.
"When we're not training [others], we're researching the next big exposure or problem because that's the constantly shifting nature of the [cyber security] business," Ms McDevitt said.
"Inside the cyber world, it's a constant push and shove between the defensive wall and those trying to work their way through the cracks.
"Companies operating in that space - and that's almost everyone these days - need to protect themselves; they need to keep patching the wall."
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