Blake Thompson Heuer

README editor-in-chief Blake Thompson Heuer has a decade of experience in cybersecurity journalism, including stints at E&E News and POLITICO. Blake has covered a range of hacking threats facing critical infrastructure worldwide, winning a SABEW Best in Business award for his investigation of a cyberattack on a Saudi Arabian petrochemical facility.

Top cyber takeaways from the Intelligence and National Security Summit
Concerns about China and generative AI dominated the cybersecurity discussions at the tenth edition of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance’s annual gathering, which drew hundreds of security professionals, spies and government experts.
Tesla exploits, a hacker obituary and a look past Capitol Hill’s TikTok fixation
Welcome to Changelog for 3/26/23, published by Synack! It’s me, Blake, and I can’t believe RSA is less than a month away. There’s still plenty to cover until then, so we’ll get right to it:
Sandworm’s kingpin, a CISA ransomware pilot and pandemic scams
Welcome to Changelog for 3/19/23, published by Synack! Blake here, basking in the annual D.C. tradition of peak cherry blossom bloom. I’ll jog around the Tidal Basin later this afternoon to soak up the views, but for now, here’s the week’s cyber news:
A D.C. healthcare breach, ransomware updates and China’s “most active” cyberthreat
Welcome to Changelog for 3/12/23, published by Synack! It’s me, Blake, and I’m excited about tonight’s season finale of The Last of Us — not to mention the bonus behind-the-scenes episode that will air afterward.
A national cyber strategy, EPA cyber regulations and one giant leap for space hacking
Welcome to Changelog for 3/5/23, published by Synack! Blake here, filling in for Nate Mott over the next few weeks.
“Cold River” hackers, ransomware updates and Operation Aurora’s legacy
Welcome to Changelog for 1/8/23, published by Synack! It’s me, Blake, hoping you all had a restful holiday season.
Log4j’s anniversary, Apple security moves and risky Exchange servers
Welcome to Changelog for 12/11/22, published by Synack! Blake here, excited to share that I’ll be co-hosting Season 2 of the WE’RE IN! cybersecurity podcast alongside Bella DeShantz-Cook.
Pipeline cyber rules, a Coinbase extortion attempt and World Cup scammers
Grudging kudos to the Netherlands for besting the U.S. in the World Cup on Saturday. Now I’m rooting for France to win it all.
Iran’s Log4j foray, Meta’s “Oops” and a looming ban on ransomware payments
Welcome to Changelog for 11/20/22, published by Synack! Blake here, delivering the week’s news alongside README senior editor Nathaniel Mott. A quick programming note before we dive in: Changelog won’t publish next Sunday as we take a Thanksgiving break.
A crypto implosion, Twitter shakeups and Patch Tuesday takeaways
Welcome to Changelog for 11/13/22, published by Synack! It’s me, Blake, bringing you the latest news with a boost from README senior editor Nathaniel Mott.
PrivacyCon updates, OpenSSL vulnerabilities and a potential $1.2B in ransomware payouts
Congratulations to the 50,000+ runners who took on today’s New York City Marathon, which is back in full force after a 2020 pandemic cancellation and depressed turnout in 2021.
A flimsy influence campaign, trouble for Drizly and ransomware updates
Welcome to Changelog for 10/30/22, published by Synack! It’s me, Blake, compiling this week’s top news with help from README senior editor Nathaniel Mott. Hope everyone is having an amazing Halloween weekend — I’m excited to greet some trick-or-treaters tomorrow in Washington, D.C.
IoT cyber scorecards, Iranian hacking operations and a “dramatic change” to U.S. nuclear codes
Welcome to Changelog for 10/23/22, published by Synack! Blake here, joined by README senior editor Nathaniel Mott. There was a lot of news last week, so let’s get right to it.
Killnet saber-rattling, a busy Patch Tuesday and a new ransomware threat
Welcome to Changelog for 10/16/22, published by Synack! It’s me, Blake, compiling this week’s newsletter with help from README senior editor Nathaniel Mott.
Microsoft Exchange zero-days, the Cyber Power Index and one publisher’s hacking nightmare
Welcome to Changelog for 10/2/22, published by Synack! It’s me, Blake, reporting with help from README senior editor Nate Mott. It was yet another busy week for cyber news, so let’s cut to the chase.
Lapsus$ chaos, a “Metador” hacking campaign and ransomware in L.A.
Welcome to Changelog for 9/25/22, published by Synack! Blake here, thrilled to start channeling Mr. Autumn Man.
Uber’s hack, Twitter whistleblower updates and a White House cyber blitz
Welcome to Changelog for 9/18/22, published by Synack! It’s me, Blake, coming up for air after a busy week for cybersecurity news. Let’s dive in:
Echoes of Conti, cloud computing castles and an energy sector threat
Welcome to Changelog for 9/11/22, published by Synack. It’s me, Blake, back after a break to share some exciting news: Cybersecurity journalist Nathaniel Mott is joining README as senior editor!
Cyber insurance vs. cyberwar, a Signal snafu and a music video exploit
Welcome to Changelog for 8/21/22, published by Synack! I’m your host, Blake, and I have one programming note before we dive into the week’s top cyber news: This will be the last newsletter edition until September as Changelog takes a summer break.
3 cybersecurity takeaways from “Hacker Summer Camp”
From vulnerabilities in Starlink user terminals to fresh iCalendar exploits, this year’s Black Hat and DEF CON conferences offered a fount of cybersecurity knowledge for hackers, policymakers and everyone else who braved the Las Vegas heat and monsoon weather.
Black Hat and DEF CON, stunt hacks and Meta encryption moves
Welcome to Changelog for 8/14/22, published by Synack! Cue the DEF CON is canceled jokes: Heavy rains caused damaging flash flooding in Las Vegas late last week during “Hacker Summer Camp,” forcing many casino patrons to take shelter from streets that became raging rapids, as CNN reported.
Crypto heists, TLP updates and emergency alert system vulnerabilities
Welcome to Changelog for 8/7/22, published by Synack! The Black Hat and DEF CON cybersecurity conferences are taking place this week in Las Vegas, and I have serious FOMO.
Spyware in the spotlight, UEFI threats and GPS jamming
Welcome to Changelog for 7/31/22, published by Synack! Open source coder John Wiseman rolled out a fascinating map of global GPS interference last week. It shows where aircraft pilots have reported encountering degraded navigation accuracy.
Cyber hiring woes, biometric threats and a check-in with the IT Army
Welcome to Changelog for 7/24/22, published by Synack! It was a blisteringly hot week for many of us across the U.S. — I’ve hardly ventured outside lately in Washington, D.C., where Mayor Muriel Bowser has declared a heat emergency through Monday.
A first-of-its-kind Log4j review, TikTok security moves and cyberattacks that weren’t
Welcome to Changelog for 7/17/22, published by Synack! Microsoft’s game of macro musical chairs appears to be over. The company said it’s planning to disable internet macros by default after all, following its decision to pause the change in key Office apps late last month.
Lockdown Mode, mercenary hackers and Finland’s approach to hybrid war
Welcome to Changelog for 7/10/22, published by Synack! Blake here, back after a hiatus for the Fourth of July holiday.
Post-Roe data risks, BSides consequences and a Russia-Ukraine cyber update
Welcome to Changelog for 6/26/22, published by Synack. It’s me, Blake, back after a break for Juneteenth. Thank you to the R Street Institute for hosting me and four cybersecurity experts for a lively discussion Wednesday on the state of water sector cybersecurity. I hope it’s just the first of many successful events in the README and R Street Cyber Policy Talks series. Now, for the week’s news:
RSA recap, an Enigma machine and a warning on China-backed cyberthreats
We Synackers spent much of the time at Fogo de Chão hosting hundreds of guests, sponsors and a Journey cover band. When not at the, ahem, meat-and-greet in the restaurant, I made the quick walk to the Moscone Center to cover some RSA highlights:
A fresh Pwn2Own perspective, Cyber Command’s Ukraine revelation and some personal news
Welcome to Changelog for 6/5/22! It’s me, Blake, and I’m thrilled to announce I’m taking on a new role as editor-in-chief of README and head of communications here at Synack.
Updates to CFAA guidance, ransomware progress and problems with a Pentagon cyber push
Welcome to Changelog for 5/22/22, published by Synack! Blake here, struggling to beat the heat in Washington.
The Full Disclosure movement, an open-source oops and Viasat’s Russian hacking woes
Investors are still parsing whether this is just another swing in the infamously volatile market, but many individual traders are hurting, badly. Perhaps a few large corporations with ransomware worries will snap up some cryptocurrency now to hedge against future payments.
Escalating the war on passwords, post-Roe threat modeling and more Log4j lessons
Welcome to Changelog for 5/8/22, published by Synack! I’m your host, Blake. Last week’s Hack the Capitol event was a hit — I tried my hands at my first-ever Escape Room, hosted by the Department of Homeland Security and designed with input from industrial control system gurus at the Energy Department’s network of national labs.
Microsoft’s take on hybrid war, a REvil comeback and Elon Musk’s push for secure Twitter DMs
Welcome to Changelog for 5/1/22, published by Synack! Blake here, reporting from Washington, D.C. I’ll be moderating a panel on ransomware threats to critical infrastructure Wednesday at Crowell & Moring LLP here, so say hello if you’ll be attending the fifth edition of the educational “Hack the Capitol” event.
A hacker homecoming at S4, conference highlights and a surge in 0-days
Welcome to Changelog for 4/24/22, published by Synack! It’s me, Blake, and if you missed the Atlantic Council panel I moderated Friday on the new industrial control system (ICS) focused Pipedream malware, you can check it out here.
U.S. warns of Russian hacking threat as dangerous malware snaps into focus
The newly discovered Pipedream malware is aimed at American energy companies’ critical networks with alarming precision. Though it was caught before it could be used, the hacking tool’s emergence against the backdrop of war in Ukraine has drawn stark warnings from the U.S. and its allies.
Industrial malware, an unusual botnet breakup and a culprit for a record crypto heist
Welcome to Changelog for 4/17/22, published by Synack! I’m your Miami-bound host, Blake, and I’m excited to deliver you news from the S4x22 industrial cybersecurity conference this week.
Back-to-back industrial cyberthreats alarm global energy sector
Cybersecurity officials in the U.S. and Ukraine have exposed two powerful hacking tools aimed at the industrial control systems that underpin critical energy networks.
Grid cyberthreats, Bitcoin busts and a Russian botnet takedown
Welcome to Changelog for 4/10/22, published by Synack! Blake here, writing from the nation’s capital.
Dire grid hacking scenario sparked “shields up” approach to Russian threat
Every two years, the electricity industry runs a stress test designed to find and fix gaps in the North American grid’s cyber and physical defenses. The latest GridEx event presaged a blitz of real-world hacking threats that have kept U.S. power providers on high alert.
Web3's security dilemma, AcidRain malware and a cyber defamation case
Welcome to Changelog for 4/3/22, published by Synack! I’m your host, Blake, and I can’t believe this is already edition №10.
Triton malware indictments, more Lapsus$ chaos and ShmooCon’s revival
Welcome to Changelog for 3/27/22, published by Synack! It’s me, Blake, your loyal ShmooCon correspondent.
ShmooCon is back. Five things you may have missed
The buzzy ShmooCon cybersecurity conference returned this weekend after a pandemic hiatus, drawing a lively crowd of hackers, security practitioners and inside-the-Beltway types to downtown Washington, D.C.
Lapsus$ group’s rampage, “protestware” and Ukraine deepfakes
Welcome to Changelog for 3/20/22, published by Synack! I’m your host, Blake, and I’ll be attending ShmooCon this week, so I hope to see some of you there.
Satellite cyberattacks, Russian disinformation and ContiLeaks fallout
Welcome to Changelog for 3/13/22, published by Synack! Congress last week sent a major piece of cybersecurity legislation to President Biden’s desk as part of a $1.5 trillion spending package.
Ukraine continues hacking back, Conti capsizes and a big cyber bill advances
Welcome to Changelog for 3/6/22, published by Synack! Blake Sobczak here, checking in from a new, FBI-friendly D.C. neighborhood.
Ukraine resistance, dark web scams and a new CISO for Colonial Pipeline
Welcome to Changelog for 2/27/22, published by Synack! Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ushered in a bleak new era for Europe.
Clicking QR codes, Ukraine DDoS attacks and tracking Snake
Welcome to Changelog for 2/20/22, published by Synack! The past week brought rapid-fire U.S. attribution of Russian cyberattacks, an unusually frank U.S. government hearing on China’s cyber capabilities and previously unreported connections between the infamous Turla hacking group and Moscow’s FSB spy agency.
Documents reveal depth of anxiety over possible Russian cyberattacks on U.S. grid
A trove of emails from top Homeland Security officials expose how the U.S. government scrambled to ensure the defenses of American utilities after Russia brought down parts of Ukraine’s power grid in 2015.
Bracing for cyberattacks as Russia readies for war
Welcome to Changelog for 2/13/22, published by Synack! I’m your host, Blake. From some pretty serious Apple patches to a disheartening update on the Log4j vulnerability’s long tail, last week’s threat level was tomato.
One hacker vs. the Hermit Kingdom
Blake here, reporting from Washington. It’s been another jam-packed week for cybersecurity news, with a massive crypto heist, a first-of-its-kind NSA interview and some gloomy numbers for a Pentagon supply chain security program.
DARPA’s quest for the (almost) unhackable
Welcome to Changelog by README! I’m your host, Blake Sobczak. Every Sunday, I’ll deliver cybersecurity news and analysis to your inbox, provided the internet hasn’t gone down in flames.
Destructive malware is back in Ukraine. Will it usher in cyberconflict?
The WhisperGate malware masquerades as ransomware but really breaks computer files beyond repair.