Quantcast
Latest Stories

Hackers school next generation at DEFCON Kids

By

SAN FRANCISCO – DEFCON hackers will share their skills with the next generation at a first-ever children’s version of the infamous gathering of software renegades, lock pickers and social engineers.

DEFCON Kids will take place in Las Vegas on August 6-7 during the 19th annual DEFCON started by hackers such as “Dark Tangent” when they were young computer coding or hardware cracking rebels.

“Hackers are getting older and having kids,” said Joe Grand, a DEFCON veteran known as ‘Kingpin’ who has wowed attendees with event badges made of circuit boards that could be hacked to serve as radios or other gadgets.

“It is interesting to follow the process of other people’s backup units; how they are coming along.”

Grand, 35, recalling teen years in which his electronics skills got him benefits such as free telephone calls and trouble like an arrest for “computer-related stuff” he didn’t detail.

“I was scared straight and there was nobody there to guide me straight,” said Grand, who will teach hardware hacking at DEFCON Kids, which is open to children ages eight to 16.

“It feels nice to have an opportunity to be a mentor for kids who might be outcasts at school for having skills that aren’t cool; that other kids don’t understand.”

Grand’s two-and-a-half-year-old son has his own work space in dad’s lab where he excitedly looks forward to being old enough to solder circuits.

A hacker conference for children is controversial even in the DEFCON community.

Prime targets for criticism include lock picking and social engineering, the art of manipulating people into revealing sensitive information.

“Everyone is up in arms that we are going to teach kids to be evil, but that is not the case,” said Chris Hadnagy, who trains companies to guard against slick-talking hackers and runs the website social-engineer.org.

“Think critically, think objectively – that is what this industry teaches people,” continued Hadnagy, a DEFCON Kids mentor.

“The Internet is a breeding ground of predators, and not falling for those things is a skill I want my kids to have when someone is trying to manipulate them into something; whether it is peer pressure or a malicious adult.”

Hadnagy and others behind DEFCON Kids were adamant that in a world where children are surrounded by technology it is smart to provide guidance and a place where they can safely, and legally, test hacker skills.

Hadnagy, whose book Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking came out this year, tailored a “Capture the Flag” game for the event.

The game will include deciphering clues, picking locks, and reading body language and subtle facial expressions.

“Kids are great at it,” said Hadnagy. “This gives them a chance to grow into what we are now, the ones who keep companies secure.”

Since DEFCON debuted in 1993, many once-nefarious attendees have become computer security good guys bent on defending companies and homes against cyberattacks.

Government agents once flushed out in a game called “Spot the Fed” at the world’s largest hacker gathering are now welcomed on panels such as “Meet the Fed.” National police agencies recruit talent at DEFCON.

DEFCON founder Jeff Moss, whose hacker handle is Dark Tangent, is on a White House homeland defense council and heads security for the agency in charge of Internet addresses.

The US National Security Agency is to bring a museum-quality cryptography exhibit this year.

“While DEFCON has a bit of edgy counter-culture to it, there is a need to harness, direct and encourage children,” said Christofer Hoff, a hacker dad and a lock picking tutor at DEFCON Kids. “It is a natural complement.”

Hoff has taught his daughters to pick locks and launched HacKids camps in the United States about a year ago after peers in the security industry wondered how to hook children on science and math skills.

“I got to learn about computers and do fun stuff like trebuchets and marshmallow gun fights,” said his 10-year-old daughter and hackid.org camp attendee Chloe. “It was really cool to figure out how things work.”

Hoff’s girls will be volunteer “goons” helping at DEFCON Kids, where his session was renamed “The physics of locks.”

“When we talk about teaching kids hacking it is about the creative, sometimes interesting out-of-the-box embracing of science, math, computers…to get their creative juices flowing,” Hoff said.

“If you teach a kid how to light a match, does it mean he will turn into an arsonist?” he asked rhetorically. “Probably not, but he will learn how not to burn himself.”

Information was online at defconkids.org.


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter




Recent Stories:

Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson 2 mins elapsed 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace 8 mins elapsed Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH 17 mins elapsed ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe 42 mins elapsed Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna 58 mins elapsed SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital 1 hour elapsed N. Korea finally offers condolences over ferry tragedy 1 hour elapsed PSEi slips after 4-day rally 1 hour elapsed
Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Hackers school , Internet



Copyright © 2014,
.
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement Advertisement
  1. Nokia to be named Microsoft Mobile
  2. Senator wants to probe PH slow Internet connection
  3. PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  4. Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  5. Facebook page launched to help people on Pag-asa Island kill boredom
  6. SC junks motions vs cybercrime law
  7. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  8. Judge in Apple v. Samsung patent trial fed up with smart phones in court
  9. Apple offering free recycling of all used products
  10. CFOs slowly getting tech-savvy
  1. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  2. PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  3. Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  4. Mommy Dionisia sings ‘Riking Bull,’sends netizens ablaze
  5. Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  6. Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  7. Judge in Apple v. Samsung patent trial fed up with smart phones in court
  8. Philippines may watch ‘blood moon’ online
  9. Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  10. Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  1. #RejectedBbPilipinas2014Questions flood Twitter
  2. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  3. Netizens fall in love with Crimea prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya
  4. Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao scores, takes over social media
  5. Nude and so dangerous
  6. Mommy Dionisia sings ‘Riking Bull,’sends netizens ablaze
  7. Russia tries to curb Crimean prosecutor’s Internet fame
  8. Memes flourish after Pacquiao victory
  9. PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  10. Netizens thank Capa for Lee arrest

News

  • Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  • 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace
  • Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  • N. Korea finally offers condolences over ferry tragedy
  • 16 CADPI sugar refinery workers now out of danger after toxic shower in Batangas
  • Sports

  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • UST posts twin kill in Filoil pre-season cup opening day
  • Wizards beat Bulls in OT to take 2-0 series lead
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • China won’t budge, wants PH gov’t to apologize to HK
  • Advertisement
    Marketplace