The person that we are honoring this year with the lifetime achievement award has, surprisingly, contributed a lot to the defensive side of security. The winner has repeatedly innovated behind the scenes, avoided the conference circus and maintained a high level of personal and intellectual integrity.
His technical work has had an outsize impact on security: His ideas are fundamental to security improvements in all major operating systems in recent years, and his ideas have indirectly shaped most modern memory-corruption attack techniques. No attacker can be taken seriously nowadays that does not deal with defensive inventions pioneered by our winner.
In an environment where Microsoft awards 200k USD for mitigation ideas that they can then patent and monopolize, he has freely shared his ideas – out of intellectual openness, but also out of a rather endearing mixture of humility and incredulity at the general retardedness of others.
Aside from all this, his innovations had a major impact when they were first introduced: For quite a while after their introduction, his work made it difficult to hack other hackers, taking away the hackers favourite pasttime — infighting — and making sure that innocent third parties were hacked.
The winner of this years lifetime achievement award is pipacs/PaX Team, for creating PaX, giving birth to ASLR, impacting all modern operating systems, and, last but not least, for patching an mp3 player and a tetris clone into softIce.