Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at Dark Reading, one of the go-to publications for everyone from CISOs to security researchers to technology specialists. She was recently selected as one of the Top 10 Cybersecurity Journalists in the U.S., and named as one of Folio’s 2019 Top Women in Media. She has spent two decades reporting and editing for technology and business publications. 

So who better to give us a sense of the trending topics and stories heading into 2021? Kelly was kind enough to answer a few questions about what she expects in the year ahead, what Dark Reading looks for in contributed content, and her book recommendations. 

Mike: What makes for a good security story?

Kelly: For Dark Reading, a good security story is one that doesn’t just regurgitate the news, but provides insight and analysis of what an event or development means to our readers (mostly security professionals) and to the industry. We don’t take news at face value. There’s always more to the story, and we strive to provide that deep insight in our reporting and our writing.

It also should be well-written and interesting so it captures and keeps the attention of the reader, and provides clear and unique perspective on the topic.

What major cybersecurity trends or stories are you interested in right now?

There are so many things going on (as usual) in the industry, so these are just a few examples. I’ve been reporting on nation-state threats for many years, and the recent SolarWinds campaign has been a reporting priority for me as well as my colleagues here at Dark Reading.

I’ve also been tracking and reporting on the evolution of security operations, especially in the wake of the pandemic, and the security fallout of rapid cloud adoption and shuttered physical offices.

Which cybersecurity topics do you anticipate will get more attention in 2021 and which will get less?

More attacks targeting cloud-based services like O365, ransomware (still), authentication and authorization.

Less attention: probably cryptojacking since it seems to have died out a bit this year.

What do the best contributed articles you publish have in common?

They often come from well-known or respected industry leaders who have a strong opinion or perspective on a topic in their wheelhouse.

What separates the most helpful sources from the least helpful sources?

The best sources are ones who speak to things they really know and have experience and aren’t just speaking to get quoted nor have an agenda.

What’s the difference between a story that’s a good fit for Dark Reading vs one that would run in a business or technology focused publication?

Dark Reading stories speak to the security professional and the security industry, and that includes the business side and the technologies. Our goal is to help security pros do their jobs, make decisions, and understand what the latest threat or security technology means to them, what they can/should do about it, etc.

What books would you recommend to people working in cybersecurity PR and marketing?

There are a lot of books on specific security topics that are good, especially Kim Zetter’s “Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon,” and Andy Greenberg’s “Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Hackers.”