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A podcast recorded at r00tz Asylum | DefCon 26
with John Johnson, Nico Sell, instructors, parents and kids.
What if some kids' dream is to be a hacker when they grow up?
How would you feel about that?
Are you smiling or freaking out?
Are you imagining a bunch of faceless hooded figures crouched over computers in dark rooms doing all sorts of illegal cyber activities while green fluorescent binary codes drip down like blood over laughing skulls painted on the walls behind them?
If this is the case, then you should freak out; I would too, but just like you, by imagining that I would be wrong. Yes, of course, there are a lot of evil hackers, but despite what mass media are forgetting to tell you nowadays, there are also a lot of ethical hackers, and we should be very grateful for them. These are the ones who defend us, our businesses, our infrastructures and our technology-driven way of life from the bad hackers. These are the ones who fight the good fight and almost never get the spotlight or a simple symbolic high five; these hackers are the cybersecurity professionals.
The others, the bad ones, are called cyber criminals by many in the know, including the team at ITSPmagazine, and I stand firm on this because I believe that hacking is not something intrinsically wrong, but something inherently positive for humans and our society. Somehow it’s one of those things that defines us.
In my opinion, being a hacker is a mindset, it’s having an attitude towards life that is fueled by curiosity, the desire to question the status quo of every single thing — material and spiritual, practical and theoretical — with the ever-present desire to improve them and make our life and society better; these are the inventors, the scientists, the explorers, the philosophers, the artists, and all the dreamers who got us here.
I am in the process of writing a much longer article about this topic, and I hope you forgive my decision to introduce this podcast recorded at DEF CON 26 about “r00tz asylum” with this initial analysis about the meaning of the verb hacking and what it stands for.
In this podcast you will learn that DEF CON Village organizers teach kids in a safe, adult-free environment the same material that they are presenting in the main villages from the Drone Warz to the Voting Machine Hacking to lock picking, and so much more. R00tz Asylum is like miniaturized DEF CON, with teaching, hands-on hacking and a strong emphasis on a Code of Conduct which teaches the kids the importance of being an ethical hacker and using their superpowers to do good.
You will hear our conversation with John Johnson, who is our guide in this very unique DEF CON Village, r00tz Asylum co-founder Nico Sell, Erin Patrick Owens from Drone Warz, Morgan Ryan from the Election Hacking area, and a few words with kids and parents.
I am quite sure after you hear this podcast you will be smiling and thinking about kids dreaming of being hackers when they grow up. I was smiling when I left r00tz Asylum, and I sure felt good about the future of our cyber society.
Should we listen?
Yeah, we should….
Enjoy the podcast, listen to it carefully, and share it recklessly!
* If you have read my introduction above, you can go directly to the conversation by skipping ahead to 4':42'' - Enjoy!