Five minutes browsing Ergohacks will probably tell you a couple of things about my personality and likes – I like tech, I like podcasts and I like playing with and trying to find the holes in things. Put those things together and you get the weekly podcast Security Now. The show started in 2005 as the newly self-employed Leo Laporte was looking to expand his range of podcasts. He’d come from cable TV and had just set himself up doing This Week In Tech and had found a ready audience. He wanted the new show to look at something a little more technical rather than analytical so reached out to security expert Steve Gibson.

Gibson is a software engineer who has also spent some time working in security and writing for trade magazines. He’d worked with Laporte before and was interested in the idea but worried that there would not be enough security news to provide a decent show every week. Several years later and they’re almost at six hundred shows and they’ve crept up in length from 15 minutes to an average of around two hours. The format of the show has also evolved into a pattern.

Every show starts with that week’s security news and updates which might take anything from the first five minutes to the entire show. That’s followed by either a deep dive into a particular technology or a question and answer session with questions submitted to Gibson on Twitter. In theory the two types of show alternate but in reality you tend to get a couple of deep dives followed by a couple of Q&As. The whole show is interspersed by commentary on tech, anecdotes from the week and interesting asides.

Product Information

Retailer: Twit.tv and GRC +                   

Price: ± £ Free. The shows are ad supported with three or four ads per show read by Laporte.

About Twit

Leo Laporte is a US tech pundit who came to fame on the now defunct Tech TV cable channel. With the closing of the channel he decided to go it alone and started up his own podcast which expanded into a network of podcasts and a company – Twit – that now does 22 podcasts and employs over 30.

Design

Security Now is available in a number of ways. You can watch it live on Tuesdays at 21:30 UTC, download it automatically via the RSS feed, watch it on Youtube or read the shownotes and full transcripts at GRC. The videos are well produced but apart from seeing what Laporte and Gibson look like don’t really add much and the podcast works well as an audio show.

There is also a chat room at http://irc.twit.tv/ which is quite active when the show is on and although Gibson rarely reads from it Laporte does pay attention and refer to it regularly.

Environment & People

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Cost-Effective

Security Now is free to download or subscribe to and is supported by paid adverts that are performed by Laporte in every show. The adverts are not at a specific time but tend to be around three minutes long and are skippable. Gibson also regularly tells anecdotes and reader stories about his software product Spinrite.

Verdict

Security Now is not a podcast that is for everyone. The subject is generally pitched at a higher technical level than most non-techies will understand – or need to understand. In addition both Laporte and Gibson have their own strong opinions on a lot of subjects that many people will not agree with.

If you are at all involved in the security industry or want to be the program is however virtually required listening. It’s had a place in my podcast app for the last five years or so and is always near the top of my to listen to queue. Recommended. Ergohacks Essential

The review is based on the Twit podcast Security Now. This article was first published on the 3rd of January 2017.