August 1st, 2005

planet

Spacefem at DEFCON: Closing sentiment about hackers

Okay, last entry...

DEFCON is a hacker conference, and as many of you know, my websites have gone down to hackers recently so I don't exactly have a soft spot in my heart for them. But I learned a few really important things about hacker culture this weekend that I'd like to comment on.

Everyone at the lectures is obsessed with security and incredibly paranoid about their own security. In a way, I felt like hacking was like shooting someone just because you thought they should be wearing a bulletproof vest, and a bullet in the chest was the only way to really drive your point home. So, they're assholes.

But the more I listened to them, the more I think their view on security are somewhat different. One of the speakers telling people how to pick locks put it best. He said that when he was a kid, his dad showed him a gun and showed him how to check to make sure it wasn't loaded and that the right safety measures were in place. He told him to never take anyone else's word that something was safe... see it for yourself. Know it for yourself.

In a way, these guys are the same way about computer security. They want to be able to see what's in there. They want to know everything about security, and make their own systems tighter, and they get really frustrated with corporations don't see things the same way. When a corporation says, "Buy our software and take our word that it's safe," a hacker gets really offended.

So there are hurtful criminals who really want systems to go down, but most of these people just want the world to think about security and think about safety and think for themselves, which is what we all want.

Maybe the only way for me to keep my systems secure is to be a hacker myself. Really read up on this stuff, learn how it works, stuff like that. It'll take time, but it's important, and this weekend has taught me that it can be interesting too. There's cool shit going on out there, and cool people who are interested in security, and a lot of ground to cover that I can handle.

DEFCON taught me a lot and I'm infinitely glad I got to go, that's really my point here... I was lucky.

now let's go tear up some code.