Raising Awareness For Safety’s Sake. Hackers Are Keeping Us Alive.

Raising awareness for safety’s sake. Hackers are keeping us alive.jpg

By Sean Martin | Co-Host Marco Ciappelli

Today’s topic is all about raising awareness for safety’s sake—and we are harkening back to a Black Hat and DEFCON recap conversation we had with one of the original organizers for the Car Hacking Village, Kirsten Renner.

While we didn’t get a chance to talk to her in-depth during DEFCON, we were fortunate enough to find some time after the conference to connect with her. And, as with most of our podcasts, we cover a lot of ground. In today’s episode, Kirsten shares the experience she had during the con, what it’s like to be a “villager”, the value of volunteering as part of the career development program, what took place during the Car Hacking Village and what the future holds for the research-driven program.

There’s still quite a bit of controversy over the term “hacker” — are they good people or bad people? what does their work represent? what are they trying to accomplish?

While the visual ‘edge’ presented by some of the folks in attendance at DEFCON might add to these questions, if you were to take a few minutes to talk to any of the attendees, volunteers, villagers, organizers and goons, you would quickly realize that—even though there will always be exceptions to the rule—the hackers at DEFCON are there to learn, share, collaborate and make things better for us as humans and for our society overall.

To help us with this conversation, we asked Kirsten to provider her opinion on the term. While her response recorded in the podcast has much more to it than a single quote, her message does sum it up quite nicely:

“Hackers are the people keeping us alive, literally.”

We hope you enjoy listening to Kirsten as much as we enjoyed chatting with her.

A message from Kirsten

In the ecosystem of information security there are many impact players and everyone plays an important role without which the whole life cycle could not run properly—from the developer writing code, to the researcher and the reverser, from the tester to the person ensuring compliance and policy; everyone matters. In the InfoSec community of volunteers that join to keep cons and villages going, it works the same way—everyone gives their personal time and, unless you've done it, you can only imagine what it takes to pull it all together.

With this, I would be remiss to not take a moment to say how honored and privileged I am to work with Robert Leale from the inception of the Car Hacking Village (CHV) at concept, to where we have come today. With over 55 volunteers and 13 sponsors, there are many people to thank and I would hate to start listing them all and miss someone. I’m sure all would agree that Robert makes it all happen for CHV. He is a pioneer in his field having made significant impactful contributions to many well known prices of work. He is a humble genius and I cant wait to see what we come up with next. 

If you enjoyed our village, take a moment to make it known.

Thank you

About Kirsten Renner


Kirsten is the Director of Recruiting at a very cool company (Novetta), a community volunteer, and a 'doer of all the things' at the Car Hacking Village.

Find Kirsten in LinkedIn
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