On the Road: Cyber Security Hackathon

April 18, 2017

It’s not every day that teleworkers like me switch out pajamas for a blazer — and even less often that we’re happy about it. But when Core security, in coordination with Christo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School and iVision, asked me out to speak at the Cyber Security Hackathon Capture the Flag mentoring lab, I knew I couldn’t say no to the invitation.

I showed up a little early to see if I could help out with the CTF, and I’m glad I did. The setup was a lot different than any CTF I’d ever seen before, with tools and lots of help provided.

I was worried the students would be all hacked out by the time it was my turn to speak. Three hours of focus on a contest like this is a lot for anyone, but especially for high school students without any exposure to computer security, penetration testing, or hacking.

The talk didn’t start as smoothly as I’d wished — my speaking notes were on my phone, and being the old man I am, I accidentally deleted them in front of the students.

But I owned up to it and kept going. And the students seemed to like what they heard!

The main point of my talk was the need for nurturing the hacker mindset in our society to groom ethical hackers who can help defend against cyber criminals. At the end of the talk, one student asked me how she would know if she had what it took to become an ethical hacker. Moments like those are what educators look forward to.

Many thanks to Core Security, Christo Rey, and iVision for the invite. It was a privilege to work with these amazing students, and I wish them luck in their futures!
 

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