re: One Secret That Stops Hackers: Girlfriends
'Getting hackers girlfriends" to get them to stop hacking is from my experience not true. The use of these mini hackers in the military and other needed areas would drastically improve our chances at winning the cyber war. But instead of focusing on and writing about ways trying to bring these kids to the good side (we have cookies too ya know) the focus seems to be on discouraging them and their natural skills, and attempting to stop them from developing their skills in a controlled and educated way.. And how you say do we stop these mini hackers from hacking?? By throwing girls at them. Yeah. No. This will NOT stop them. How do I know this??? Eight years ago I MARRIED the guy who got busted for hacking the schools dial up system from home in middle school, who would take leave to go to hacker cons, and owned a small library of 2600 magazines. I encouraged this hacker to change rates in the Navy so that he could use his interest in hacking and all the skills he had for good. I supported his desire to get not one, but TWO masters in internet security. I have gone to many "hacker-cons" just to learn and understand what my husband is passionate about. My wonderful husband instead of being distracted from his interest in hacking has been encouraged since he was a kid to learn about the things that interest him. In my opinion this encouragement is what makes this man the BEST in his field in the Navy. I know this not through biased but through fact, experience, observation, and discussions with his supervising officers and civilians who work with him, as well as discussions with people we have met at cons who have interacted with him. I have learned enough from cons, editing masters papers, and dinners with his friends that I can carry on a rather informed discussion with his friends, coworkers and the people in his job field. And even though he is a hacker, the man can be incredibly social, funny, and fun to be around. Has he always been like this? Honestly, no, he had to learn to interact with certain groups that weren't in his normal social circles, but in reality we ALL have to do that when walking into a new social group or situation. To flip the coin on this "hackers being socially challenged" idea, can I a non-hacker intermingle perfectly with his hacker friends, or any social group you put me in? To be honest not always, but at the same time sometimes there are just people you don't mesh with. Am I an expert in hacking/internet security because of the cons/talks I have attended/sat through with my husband? No, but I can sit and give a WONDERFUL response about my thoughts on cloud computing, secured networks and the need to better educate people on net security.
I won't deny that I have sat at MANY a hacker con/event and while people watching said/ thought on several occasions "wow these are NOT the most social people on earth". But I will admit that I sat and thought same thing with other "genre" obsess-ors, as I am sure you will admit to as well. I mean really have you BEEN to a Comic/Star Wars/Star Trek/Woman's Fashion event/ or some other type of gathering not in your realm of "normal thing to attend" and not thought the same thing at least one? Everyone has their obsessions in life and this is what makes us unique and let's us learn from each other. Everyone ends up with their own quirks and social challenges. It tends to be a generally accepted idea that when someone is exceptionally smart something tends to be missing on the social side, not because of a Autism diagnosis or assumption, but because they are just so dominantly left brained the social norms part of the right brain gets overridden/forgotten.
At the end of this though, outside of hackers and social issues is something I think that was barely gleamed on and really should have been the focus of this article.The KEY issue is not discouraging, but encouraging in a positive and educated way. Instead of trying to STOP kids from hacking, we need to be focusing on what can be done to encourage them to become ETHICAL hackers. Kids and teens TEST boundaries and borders, it's WHAT they do. I am in that 28-35 age bracket that I am sure you are in as well. When we were kids we had a totally different set of rules, expectations, and norms to test and push the limits of. As you know when we were growing up the internet wasn't so easily assessable and the concept of having a laptop that weighed under 5 pounds and wasn't so slow a calculator could challenge it in a speed test, we didn't have a smart phone that fit in our front jeans pocket. Cell phones to us were those big bricks and the thought of a cell phone that could make calls on unlimited plans, send typed/text messages, take photos, and play music, movies and video games was a dream. As we ALL know the tech is now more easily assessable to everyone, not just adults and in general most of the tech we dreamed of having is something kids now are expected to own and know how to use. Because of these advancements in tech and as well as the general acceptance of it in daily mainstream use the boundaries we pushed as kids are now no longer a challenge to kids today and because of this, kids today will continue to find their own boundaries to push and test. These kids that are getting caught hacking need to be educated instead of getting punished in a way that makes them resent the system and then lash out and commit the same offense but this time on an escalated level. They need to be put in classes that encourage their skills and natural interest and teach them the ethics and legalities of hacking and how their skills can be used for good and shown the effects that their current uneducated and destructive style of hacking can have. Encourage these kids to become the next "10th Fleet" of the Navy and other military cyber defense groups. Let these pint sized hackers become our nations cyber defense group vs the young "kids" coming into the field now who have NO concept of what hacking is, nor do they have an interest in hacking. All they know is what they've seen in movies, and that the recruiter is telling them it's the new hotness rate/job in the military. Imagine if we were to foster these kids we are trying to stop. We would have a group in national cyber defense that not only knows from day one what a network is, what cyber defense is, and what penetration test is, but that LOVES what they do and works to excel at their job. Most of the current military cyber defense group has a limited concept of these things outside of what the military opts to teach them, and has no interest in learning MORE about these things to improve their skills on their own time, meaning we are in general handing our nations cyber defense off to a group that just wants a pay check.